Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
February 3rd, 2012

Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

Registrar's Office
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Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
[327] Sirach 47:2-11
Psalm 18:31, 47+50, 51
Mark 6:14-29


Today’s scripture readings are an interesting mix.  The story of David and Goliath, David’s many feats of bravery and David’s love for God.  The psalmist proclaims, “blessed be God my salvation and speaks of God’s kindness to David.”  Mark tells the story of John the Baptist and his fate at the hands of Herod.  Herod knows it is wrong, yet in order to avoid embarrassment in front of the guests at his birthday party, he honors his oath to his daughter and John is murdered.

David and Herod are an interesting contrast.  David’s story is uplifting and Herod’s story is depressing.  David never worried too much about what people thought.  However, he was always concerned about his relationship with God.  Herod, on the other hand, worries so much about what people think that he murders one of God’s prophets.  Both kings.  Both imperfect men.  Yet the differences between them are huge.  David understands that God sees the heart.  David understands that evil cannot be hidden from God.  David chooses ruthless honesty when he evaluates himself and begs God’s forgiveness.  Herod does not want to lose face in front of his guests.  I want to be like David.  And I’m critical of Herod.  Yet, if I’m honest, I wonder how often I’m more like Herod than I am like David.  Worried more about what the world thinks than what God thinks.  Feeling it’s easier to hide or ignore my sins than it is to accept God’s grace and repent.

Recently my family took a vacation over Christmas break.  It was a wonderful, once in a lifetime vacation to a beautiful (and warm) place.  Two things happened on this vacation that made me think about my heart and God’s view of it.  The first was airport security.  In order to get to our destination, we had to go through airport security.  Empty your pockets, take off your shoes, belt and coat, open your luggage and stand in a full body scanner.  I did not like being inspected.  In fact, I hated it.  That said, I saw a person, who my immediate thought was, I sure hope they inspect him closely.  Isn’t it funny?  It’s so easy for me to sit and look at someone and think God must sure be unhappy with that person’s heart.  Yet I’m not very willing to open my own heart to God for inspection.

Later, I had the privilege to take an early morning walk on a beach on New Year’s Day.  There had been lots of fireworks the night before and all the debris had washed up on the beach.  What had been a beautiful, pristine beach the day before was now covered with garbage.  As I walked I came upon a gentleman digging a large hole.  I wondered what he was doing and watched for a while.  As soon as the hole was done, he raked all the trash into the hole and covered it up.  The beach appeared to be beautiful and pristine again.  Yet, just under the surface was all kinds of trash.  One big wave and it would all be exposed, again. 

I thought about my sins.  So much easier to bury and hide them than to actually confess them to God.   But what kind of life do I want?  One where the next big wave will ruin it?  Or one filled with grace, where my relationship with God means I can withstand any waves that come?  You would think it would be an easy choice, but it’s not.

My prayer today is for those of us who find it easy to recognize the sin in others, but want to hide our own sin from God.  That we would recognize and accept the power of God’s gift of grace.

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