Faith Daily | 4 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 533
you have taught us
that all our doings without love are worth nothing:
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 6: 14-29
4King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 15But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
17For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Alan Dann
There is nothing new about horror stories. We read in the Bible many accounts of barbaric actions of those in authority when it seems that they are being challenged by agents of God. Sadly little has changed. People are still being killed for their beliefs; Christians by so called Islamic followers; Moslems as they worship by suicide bombers: persecution because of faith continues. John the Baptist’s execution is full of intrigue.
Some points to ponder about this passage are:
Mark paints Herod as acting reluctantly because Herod viewed John as a prophet. There is a slightly different view in Matthew, ch14, where Herod feared a riot if he killed John.
The death of John at Herod’s orders but to satisfy the scheming of Herodias’ daughter (but presumably his daughter as well) was seen at the time as a mark of shame. A woman had a hand in John’s death by the beheading – so too was Jesus’ crucifixion seen as shameful by the crowds at the time.
In the mind of Jesus though, John’s death (as he was a mate and possible relative) could be viewed as a prompt to urge Jesus and his disciples to get busy – spread the word as the time is short. So at the same time we are told that Jesus sent his disciples on their first mission – earlier in ch6. The end for John was also the beginning for Jesus.
Whilst Australia is still the lucky country and we live in one of the safest places on earth, we too face sufferings in our lives but God is with us supporting us in our adversity and being present in the actions of those around us. For this we can all be thankful.
FINAL PRAYER: APBA p467
God of all peoples,
whose servant John came baptizing
and calling for repentance:
help us to hear his voice of judgement,
that we may also rejoice in his word of promise,
and be found pure and blameless in that glorious Day
when Christ comes to rule the earth as Prince of Peace;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.