One reflects on the times in which we are living, and cannot avoid thinking how utterly unmerciful the Baptist was.
Did he really need to stand in “judgment” about King Herod's frailty? Aren't we all sinners? Aren't we all wounded creatures, in need of Mercy? Are we not called to convert each other? Did John think he had “all the answers”? What about elementary prudence? How is it “pastoral” to criticise a poor sinner, perhaps leading him to sin even more? And Salome and Herodias with him? What has he achieved? Scare tactics never work!
Instead, John should have limited himself to extolling the joy of monogamy, and to convert by his joyous example. And then, you see, his joy would have been contagious, then there is no better way to convert than by being joyful and charitable.
Clearly, John got it all wrong, and his lack of pastoral concern proved a failure in the end.
Seriously, Francis would have been completely different. He would have called some Rabbi friend of his to get counsel, and would have decided if King Herod tries to serve his own God, who is he to judge?
John lived in the Time of Wrath,you see. Francis, instead, lives in the Time of Mercy; a time in which the Holy Ghost inspires men to do things differently. To be pastoral. Inclusive. Merciful. Utterly, utterly humble. Unburdened by the past.
Francis his his gaze set upon the future: a world without war, poverty or injustice, because the Holy Ghost now inspires the New Man to things the Old Men could have never achieved. John baptised with water, Francis baptises with Mercy and Inclusiveness. Look at how many Twitter followers he has!
Thinking of it: quite an old Matusaleh, this John the Baptist.