Scripture: Mark 6:13-29
Reflection: In today’s passage we get a glimpse of the lifestyles of the rich and famous in the ancient world. This is one of the saddest stories of revenge that I have ever heard. It starts innocently enough when King Herod begins to hear about Jesus and the things people are saying. Then, we get the back story of how King Herod contributed to John the Baptist’s death even though he knew John was a holy man. In fact, Herod loved to listen to John preach, but, he had him killed anyway to preserve his position of power. Politically, he didn’t dare waffle on a promise. The dynamics of Herod’s marriage come into full view as we find out that John had criticized Herod for marrying his brother Phillip’s wife, Herodias. This criticism made Herodias so angry that she wanted to kill John, but she didn’t have the power to make this kind of thing happen. Herod, in an attempt to calm his angry wife, had John arrested and locked up in prison. Herod knew this would be one way to protect John. But, Herodias found a way to get her way. She used her daughter to manipulate the situation and John was beheaded. His head was ceremonial delivered to Herodias on a platter. It is hard to imagine the debauchery that led to an innocent man’s death. This story is a grim reminder of how pride and seduction can lead to terrible acts of violence against another human being.
How much of our lives are affected by this same kind of destructive behavior? Have you ever wanted revenge? Have you ever manipulated a situation to destroy another person? Lent is a good time to reflect on our behavior and how pride and power affect our actions.
Prayer: Merciful God, you are aware of the human condition – of the manipulation, power, and pride that can afflict us. Help us amend our ways. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].