“But the hand of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah, so they did not hand him over to the people to be put to death“ (Jeremiah 26:24).
In today’s readings, we witness the advantage of having friends in high places. From the Old Testament (Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24), we hear about threats of death to Jeremiah. However, his life is saved by Ahikam whose father was Shaphan; an influential official in the reign of Josiah, King of Judah.
In today’s gospel (Mathew 14:1-12), we hear about the murder of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. John was a simple man who “wore clothing made of camel’s hair…His food was locust and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4). On the other hand, Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee; a powerful man who enjoyed all the luxury of earthly pleasures.
At first glance it seems that John the Baptist lacked friends in high places. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth because when John poured water from the Jordan River on Jesus, he befriended the most powerful king, the cornerstone of God’s dwelling place. By doing so, it was John whom like David slayed the giant with a single stone, thus saving himself and us from eternal death.
— God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.–