Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
God created the world for good. However, most of the time it seems to take a different course where good is overwhelmed by evil. This text is odd on several counts: First, in a flashback Herod (not the Great) hears of Jesus and wonders, maybe out of guilt, has John the Baptist been resurrected?
William Plancher makes this observation: “It is in this odd context that the idea of the resurrection first enters Mark’s narrative.”1 Has God’s project intended for good gone horribly awry? Here we are reminded that Jesus’ Good News does not exempt us from facing evil. How we are to respond? Listen closely to what God is doing about it: “The news of John’s death and the manner of it seem to confirm that God’s power is invisible.
Second, evil is a reality that emerges from Herod’s paradoxical relationship to John the Baptist. He views him as a holy man, even admires him, yet trapped between John and his family, and Kingly reputation John loses his head and Herod his joy. Pressured by the expectations of others, Herod fulfills his promise to his twelve year old stepdaughter. A second question makes this gruesome story so uncomfortable. If we are honest we are more like Herod than disciples. Hemmed in by our pride, power and promises don’t we make decisions that reflect the fear of Herod and deny Jesus’ values? How else does one understand the political decisions that would imprison children and separate them from their parents because of our insecurity and fear. Believing the lie that we are powerless we give in to evil. Afraid of death, we allow this evil to happen in our name.
Jesus reminds us: God is at work, you are the equipment to heal, confront demons and proclaim the power of God. God is your power for good. So announce the Kingdom of God is here, be the witness to its reality. God’s love and power are worth dying for, in doing so you will find life to the fullest.
1 William plancher. Mark: A Belief Theological Commentary,(2010) Pgs 240-242. *This reflection uses Mark 6:7-13 to contrast with Mark 6:14-29. John’s gruesome death displays the reality of evil, yet God depends upon ordinary people like ourselves to counter it. The inclusive meal offered by Jesus following John’s death is also God at work (6:30-44).
July 15, 2018; Cycle B; 8th Sunday of Pentecost
2nd Sam. 5:1-10; Ps. 24; Eph. 1:3-14; *Mark 6:7-29(30-44)