8/29/2022 (Monday) Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 6:17-29
17 Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
18 John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
20 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.
21 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.
22 Herodias’ 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.”
23 He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
25 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.”
26 The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests, he did not wish to break his word to her.
27 So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
28 He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl, in turn, gave it to her mother.
29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
8/29/2022 (Monday) Today’s Gospel Reflection: Mark 6:17-29
Herod made a bad decision that led to another and more serious crime. He is said to be attracted to the teachings of John but he did not make a move to know him better. Instead, he imprisoned John on account of the latter’s criticism of his immoral and illegal marriage to Herodias. Then, he made a promise that he cannot afford to break. Otherwise, he would lose face if he does it. Never mind if it is a crime. He is powerful anyway and the life and death of subjects depend on his whims and caprices.
The death of John the Baptist was a pre-cursor of the death of Jesus. Two lives dedicated in pursuit of truth and justice ended in tragedy. Yet it is the kind of life that is highly valued by God. Still, only a few would dare to follow in their footsteps. Majority of the people would rather live comfortably in silence rather than make waves in the polluted ocean where modern Herods continue to act with impunity. Worse, some of us connive with them and go to the extent of working against or even killing the John the Baptists of today.
Scripture tells that truth will set us free. John the Baptists wasn’t afraid to tell the truth no matter who gets hurt. May we do the same today.