Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6,17-29.
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore (many things) to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Power Leads to the Murder of the Innocent
- Sensuality: Herodias’ daughter’s dance was very suggestive and seductive. It was meant to gratify the senses of those present so that her mother could get her way. How many times have you been tempted by suggestive actions or thoughts and because of them, made a bad decision which caused pain for your loved ones? We live in a world of sensuality; gratification of the senses and indulgences of sexual appetites. It is within this world where barriers and people are broken. There are very few limits nowadays; not even a religious robe, religious habit or a wedding ring will stop some people. Don’t let yourself be taken in by sensuality because when you finally repent it may be too late.
- Power: In the Gospel, power is reflected not only in Herod but also in Herodias. In order to gain power, she used her own daughter in the plot to kill an innocent. Whoever longs for power may end up doing these things: “using people” and “killing or getting rid of, whomever is a threat.” Please be careful… the search for power for some people has brought terrible consequences even within the Church, sometimes causing many priests and nuns to leave their consecrated life. People who like power, ‘use’ others or they ‘get rid of’ people who bother them. How many have used you as a springboard to get to a higher position, or perhaps you have used others to get a better position. How many have skipped you, have left you aside and ignored you in a gesture to show you they have more power? Or maybe, you have done that – you may have left your spouse and children aside, or neglected your mother or father, or ignored your boss…all in the name of ‘getting ahead.’ Power can end up costing you everything.
- John the Innocent: Here is the figure of a courageous man who remained firm in God’s truth and was obedient to the end. Unlike John whose head was cut off, but then later lovingly taken by this disciples and laid in a tomb, Herod and Herodias lose their heads to power, but they are alone. Stay faithful to the truth, it’ll give you inner peace and that’ll make you great. Remember, Heaven is our goal! Don’t give up, stay firm even if others are coming for your head, and don’t fall for the temptations of the world – don’t trade the richness in you, your values, or the beautiful things in you, for sensuality. Remain firm!
God bless you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t forget: Heaven is Our Goal!