Friday, 6 February 2015

Beheaded

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
Malcolm Davies (No.74)
King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ 

Others said, ‘He is Elijah;’ others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’

Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 

As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. 

When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. 

When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half 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 straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ 

The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. 

So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 

When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.(Mark 6:14-29)
Pieter de Grebber (circa 1600–1652/1653) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
John the Baptist preaching before Herod
At first glance we can see in Herod a story that speaks to those in authority in government, economic and institutional life in our own time. Men and women in positions of power can be threatened by anything that would deprive them of their power and prestige.

The call to conversion is not just to a select few but also to all of those in John’s society. 

We are called to conversion as well. John the Baptist always pointed beyond himself to Jesus the Son of God, who had come to announce forgiveness and deliverance from evil and death.

This ultimate assurance of God's love and acceptance of us is a promise of freedom from sin and death

Like John the Baptist we are called beyond ourselves to reflect the words and actions of Jesus in care for the needs of others, and to love as we have been loved.

Conversion is not just some one-off event in our past.

Conversion is a decision to follow Jesus everyday and to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Conversion is to live as a disciple and to live the Gospel values in every part of our life.


5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.Add caption

Malcolm Davies
















Next Reflection: Susanne Timpani  Sunday 8th February, 2015