Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 5 February 2021, during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Friday Reflection: 5 February 2021. Gospel passage – Mark 6:14-29.

“… King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead’.”

This excerpt quoted above is a sharp reminder that the Word of God cannot be ignored. We cannot put it on the bookshelf, ignore those parts of it that disturb our consciences, or kill it off. Herod did this. John the Baptist challenged his lustful lifestyle. Herod had violated all the norms of decency – he had married his brother Phillip’s wife who at the same time was his niece. (The Herod family tree will outdo any of the modern day soap operas!!) 

The voice of prophecy spoke out and for this John lost his head. The voice that challenged Herod had been put firstly into a prison and finally into a tomb. Then Herod hears Jesus – and what does he think? “Ah! This is John the Baptist come back to life”. The lesson in all this is that we cannot imprison the Word of God, put it in a tomb, ignore it when it is preached, or leave it unattended on a bookshelf. It will come back and haunt us as it did King Herod. 

When St Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates described his vocation he quoted St Paul that he was “called from his mother’s womb” so that God’s word could be manifested not to him, or through him, but, as indicated in the original text, in him (cf Galatians 1:15-16). This then is the call of all Christians – to make a home for God’s word in our lives so that so that Christ, i.e. God’s supreme Word, could be known intimately in us. Then when people encounter us they will encounter God’s holy word. I wish you an attitude of reverence for the Word of God so that God’s love could be seen and known in, by and through us. 

Let us pray: God our Father, Scripture teaches us that your word is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. Give us the grace to respond to your word so that we may always walk along the paths you have chosen for us. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen. [Blessing].

Bishop Sylvester David OMI
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town