Scripture Reading: Mark 6:14-29
King 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.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ –Mark 6:14-16
We always face the consequences of our own actions even if the consequences are only our haunted guilt. The story of John’s beheading seems out of place in the scripture. It is an aside comment on the depravity of society at the time. Herod apparently took to heart some of John’s proclamations, knowing them to be truth, but these truths could not overcome his pride and need to prove his power. When this man Jesus came along, drawing even more attention than John had, Herod saw the same truth in Jesus’ message and feared him too.
Beheading is apparently still a tool of derision used by terrorist today to intimidate and plant fear, but we who view ourselves as more civilized tend to use words to inflame fear and hatred. More often than not, like our story today, issues blown out of proportion have little if anything to do with real areas of concern. They are most often limited in scope, diversions to distract us from dealing with realities impacting the Common Good. Our legislature in Oklahoma this year spent a lot of time on such diversions while failing to adequately fund most areas of government and we are all paying the consequences for their inaction.
We are called to do justice. Jesus stressed the importance of feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, helping prisoners, and welcoming strangers. He did not get caught up in the intrigues of the day or get distracted from his quest to fulfill God’s plan for a kingdom of love. He set a good example for us to follow.
Prayer: God of Wisdom, help us to see the full picture as we struggle to bring about the Common Good through our responsibilities as citizens and show us the way to meld that role with our role of being part of the Body of Christ in the world today. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.