2 Thessalonians 3: 6-10,16-18 Ps 138: 1-2,4-5Mark 6: 17-29www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082917.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_08_29.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
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.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
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.
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.
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.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
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.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Good News Reflection: Getting nailed for the truth
Do you know the surest sign that you’re growing in holiness? You’re being attacked because of it! You’re living in a way that makes others realize that they too need to change, and this has unpleasant repercussions. Try not to take it personally. Those who cut you down are those who don’t want to change. In truth, it’s not you they want to destroy, but the invitation to holiness that your life exemplifies.
Such was Herod’s condition when he arrested John the Baptist. Herodias felt even guiltier than he did about their sin, as evidenced in today’s Gospel reading. She harbored such a strong grudge against John that she wanted him dead and she found the means to do it. But did it silence him forever? No, I’m sure the truth he had spoken nagged at her brain long afterward.
The truth does that when people fight it. Their battle keeps it right there in front of them and makes them do crazy things until they surrender. I suspect that hell is hearing the truth so loudly and clearly that it tortures forever those who don’t want to hear it.
Has your freedom to express your faith been blocked by those who don’t want to accept the truth? As they try to lock up that truth behind a wall of resistance, it’s driving them crazy. You’ve been nailed to the cross of their prejudices or fears or woundedness (or whatever else has trapped them in their sinful or unhealthy patterns), and the nails are hurting you. The nails are immobilizing you so that you can do nothing to improve the situation.
However, those who put you on the cross will never escape their guilt until they turn to the Lord with a heart that’s willing to change.
In the meantime, is there anything you can do? Or must you continue to hang on the cross?
What did Jesus do? He was nailed by those who did not want to accept the truths that he taught, but they could not silence his ability to make a difference. He asked the Father to forgive them — “for they don’t know what they’re doing.” He interceded for them. And then his pain ended. Soon afterward, he was raised into victory by a Father who was very pleased with him.
This is what happens to us, also, if we realize that our cross is actually the cross of Christ and that it’s accomplishing a redemptive goodness. When we give to the Father those who’ve nailed us, interceding for them, we set ourselves free to enjoy our own personal resurrection. Their attacks cannot stop the Father from being very happy with us.
When we die to our desire to change those who’ve hurt us, leaving their fate up to God, we can get on with life and enjoy it.
God will not allow their sins against you to go unchallenged. He will deal with them in whatever way is best for their eternal souls, according to his infinite wisdom, in the time-frame that they give him. And he will work with whatever they give him, so that eventually the truth sinks into them with the most profound effectiveness.
Give me the grace, Lord, to be brave and bold when You lead me to give testimony to Your Word. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica