Herod Antipater (born before 20 BC – died after 39 AD), known by the nickname Antipas , was a 1st-century ruler of Galilee and Perea , who bore the title of tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) and is referred to as both “Herod the Tetrarch and King Herod. After being recognized by Augustus upon the death of his father, Herod the Great (c. 4 BC/AD 1), and subsequently by his brother, the ethnarch Herod Archelaus, Antipas officially ruled Galilee and Perea as a client state of the Roman Empire. Antipas divorced his first wife Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea, in favour of Herodias , who had formerly been married to his half-brother Herod II also known as Philip. Antipas was Herod the Great’s son by Malthace , while Philip was his son by Mariamne II.

This was a clear misuse of power and authority. No one dared to challenge the king except John, the voice of the voiceless. For this reason John was placed behind bars (prison). Herodias loved it, she was enjoying the affluence of the palace and saw John as an enemy of progress. Hence, she sought to kill him. The king will not dare for fear of the people who saw John as a prophet. But the opportunity came when the king was lost in drunkenness and excitement at the display of Herodias daughter, and he promised to give her anything, even half his kingdom. Lesson One: Be careful of what you say and do when you’re excited and angry. Lesson two: When you boast and promise what you don’t have, you end up giving what is not yours. Herod was only incharge of Galilee and Perea, how could he promise anything and everything. The innocent child at the bidding of her mother, requested for the head of John. And so, John was beheaded and the head given to her. What will she do with it? She smiled relief but that was the beginning of their woes.

Today, we see how the drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honour, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. This all together, clearly and verily mirrors how rotten, wicked and anxious our world have become. For political reasons, for power, for money and riches, for status and vain glories, even for life partners, people do not hesitate to destroy destinies, careers, vocations or even take numberless lives.

The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom because he was a voice. The “voice crying in the desert” which did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. He was the voice, yes, of the voiceless! Every Catholic (Christian) has a duty to know the truth; to live the truth; to defend the truth; to share the truth with others; and to suffer for the truth says Fr. John Hardon.

God is looking for a voice in anywhere we find ourselves:

1.            A chairman of a company that will not take advantage of labourers. Be a voice

2.            A politician or government official that will not take 50% cut before awarding contracts. Be a voice

3.            A Bank manager who will not approve loan for 15% before you pay the interest Be a voice

4.            A lecturer who will not take 5,000 from students to pass his course and a supervisor who will not take 30,000 to approve a well written project. Be a voice

5.            An employer who will not take bribe from the employees. A voice

6.            A man/woman who will not maltreat and malnourish children living with him/her. A Voice

7.            A Chief who will not adjudicate lands from the poor to the rich unjustly. A Voice

8.            An uncle who will not cease properties belonging to his brother from the Children.  A Voice

 I pray that you’ll be the voice of God in a rotten world. His voice in a sick world. His voice in a suffering world. His voice in NTA and AIT, in Europe & America, in Abuja, Enugu, Calabar, Uyo; anywhere you find yourself, be the voice of righteousness shouting against and shutting down the gates of iniquity in Jesus name. Amen!



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