Passion of Saint John the Baptist (Mk 6:17-29)
Lord Jesus, let me not be swerved by the opinions of others.
Picture Herod with his party guests.
This section is an interlude, which Mark inserts between the sending of the Twelve and their return. It is the only story that does not focus on Jesus and his disciples and is written to complete the story of John the Baptist. The text will shorten the lengthy reading.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus’ reputation grew and people were saying that John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. Others said that he is Elijah or a prophet equal to any of the prophets. Herod thought he was John the Baptist, whom he killed, raised from the dead.
Herod had John imprisoned because he said, “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge and wanted to kill John but was unable to do so.
Herodias had her chance when Herod held a birthday dinner for his court officers, military officers and leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ daughter did a dance which pleased the King so much that he told the girl, “Ask for anything you want, even to half of my kingdom, and I will give it to you.” Herodias told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
The King regretted his offer but due to the presence of his guests, he sent an executioner to bring back the Baptist’s head. When John’s disciples heard of his death, they buried his body in a tomb.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Everything in this story is distorted, and out of kilter. The three opinions about Jesus have no basis in reality.
- Herod is filled with fears and believes John has been raised from the dead.
- His passions are out of order, both in his marriage and at this birthday party.
- He makes terrible blunders, promising a dancing girl whatever she wanted.
- His wife is also filled with evil, always trying to kill John the Baptist.
- These evils accumulate and result in an unthought-of event. John is beheaded.
- Only his disciples act with thoughtfulness and dignity.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Jesus, you alone save me from superstition, absurdity and darkness.
- Cast out all my fears. By your power, I can live in light and peace.
- Quiet my passions. Cool my evil desires. By your Spirit, I will practice self-control.
- O Jesus, how many blunders I have made. No more. I will walk in your light.
- Do not let evil grow. Let me repent quickly of all my sinful decisions. You will make me firm again.
- I will be your disciple, with a life full of good deeds and kindly acts.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ I will examine the disorders in my life. What actions should I take?
+ I will quickly repent of every sinful action.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
The king regretted his offer but he was fearful about what his guests would think.