Mothers, Mind Your Actions!
‘And she went out and said to her mother, for what should I ask? And she said, ‘the head of John the Baptist. And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked saying: I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter’ Mk.6: 24-25.
FOURTH Sunday in Lent of every year is usually set aside as Mothering Sunday. For this year, today is such remembrance within the Anglican Communion. Therefore, we rejoice with our mothers on this occasion and thank God for what they are and what He has been using them to do in their homes, churches and communities. Indeed, our mothers are to be celebrated, as they are not only mothers, but also wives to their husbands and great caregivers to their biological and foster children. It is God that imbued them with sterling qualities that enable them to hold the home front together. It is true though that there are some others who fall short of expectations in their roles.
From the text chosen, we see a bizarre and painful elimination of a man of God in the person of John the Baptist. He was the moral conscience of his day but was wasted just like that by the inordinate ambition of Herodias. She was a woman of easy virtue and lacked milk of human kindness, which is an attribute of motherhood. She was not ashamed of being a bedfellow to her husband’s brother.
According to the passage, the daughter danced in a banquet to celebrate the birthday of King Herod, which he threw for his military commanders and important dignitaries in the empire. Herod was carried away by the day’s celebration and unguardedly put himself under an oath to the effect that he asked Herodias’ daughter to make a request of whatever she would desire even to the point of half of his kingdom that he would be willing to part with it. Some people may say Herod might have been under the influence of alcohol, but what we cannot take away from him is that he put himself under an oath. Remember, an oath when made becomes irrevocable and bidding to whoever makes it. Such was the state of Herod and so, he had to carry out to the letter the spirit of his oath.
Herodias’ daughter, maybe in the bid to get proper guidance from the mother, ran to her and relayed what Herod said concerning her dance performance at the banquet. It is possible her dance was seductive, but it enabled her ask of anything from the king. In our time, children need good education; employment opportunities or scholarships that will help secure their future. So, one would have expected Herodias to have guided her daughter along this line, but no. She had a completely different plan, which was that her daughter should request from Herod the head of John the Baptist in a platter. That Herod was sorry when this request was made, although he gave orders for John’s execution portrays that it was a very bad request. Yes, other choices would have been better other than a human head, especially that of a prophet. The Bible had earlier warned: ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm’ (1 Chron. 16:22; Ps. 105:15).
By violating this command, Herodias action is highly condemnable and should not be encouraged at all.
And so, as we celebrate motherhood today, let our mothers take to heart that their actions can make or mar their individual families that is their husbands and children. It is expected that they should remain prayerful as they carry out their God-given assignment as mothers. Happy celebrations.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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