Mt 14:1-12 You Can’t Always Have What You Want!
Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
By JENNIFER BURGIN
Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
One Saturday morning I stopped by Costco to buy mega rolls of paper products. As I wheeled my bulky cart toward the exit, I came across a boy throwing a fit in the food court. He sat on the concrete floor stomping his feet as tears streamed down his red face. He whined and cried out: “Mom, I want cheese sticks! Why can’t I have them? Waaaah!” Not surprising, his mom just stood with her eyes glued to her cell phone, ignoring her son. Perhaps she was Google searching “How to stop my child from throwing a fit” or texting a friend for advice. Highly unlikely….
Did the other Costco customers find this kid as disturbing as I did? Maybe similar thoughts entered their minds: What is wrong with you, Lady? Put down your silly cell phone, pick up your kid, and get out of here now! Your little boy needs a spanking, time out, or something! We’d like to enjoy our dining and shopping experience here in Costco-land without kiddie drama, thank you very much!
Is it just me or does today’s society produce record numbers of clueless people? Everywhere I go I see children, and adults alike, acting inconsiderate, ignorant, or just plain indifferent….
I’d like to kindly throw out this reminder: You can’t always have what you want! Keep living your head up in the clouds. Keep acting like a jerk. Keep pitching that fit. Keep demanding things your way. The results you want may never meet your expectations.
By now, most Americans are aware of the Planned Parenthood Exposed videos released by The Center for Medical Progress. I’ve watched each video in utter repulsion. I won’t go into the gory details, but selling aborted fetal parts in a black market scheme is way beyond safe reproductive healthcare. Clearly, PP thinks they can continue to have what they want – tax payer funds under the shadows of secrecy and controversy; a powerful lobbying force that kills for profit without a care. God willing, Planned Parenthood will go down as the Truth of their shady operations becomes more visible.
In today’s gospel reading, John the Baptist is arrested for saying quite matter-of-factly that King Herod has no right to his brother’s wife. Yet, Herod doesn’t want to hear the word No. How dare this “wild man” of a prophet who eats honey and locusts tell him what he cannot have. In the ultimate plot of revenge, John’s head is cut off and delivered on a platter. Problem solved…. However, an unwelcome side effect looms; King Herodwill always have the blood of a martyr stained on his conscience.
Is getting what you want going to make you any happier? What if you turned away from your selfish desires and asked God what He desires best for you?
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, whose feast day we celebrate today, wrote the following:
“Our Savior says, if you have not received the graces that you desire, do not complain to me, but blame yourself, because you have neglected to seek them from me.”
Wow, such powerful morsels of wisdom! The next time we draw out the selfish card and think that we can have whatever I want, think again. If it’s something unhealthy for us or will put us into a state of mortal sin, it’s probably best that it doesn’t happen. Those times when something meaningful to us falls flat, remember that the Lord has something else better planned.
I’ll conclude with another quote from Saint Alphonsus worthy of reflection:
“If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love.“
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Pray for Us!