4th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday

In today’s Gospel we’re reminded that it is pointless to kill the messenger once the message has already been delivered. As Herod starts to hear about Our Lord he sees the message he’d first heard on the lips of St. John the Baptist coming back to haunt him, so much so that he thinks Jesus is John himself returned from the dead. Mark felt obliged to explain why Herod was so interested in Jesus, probably because Herod usually didn’t show must interest in anyone.

Herod’s “wife” also thought that by killing the messenger she could erase the message. As Herod himself learned, once something is said, it’s hard to ignore or retract. He made a foolish promise in front of all the powerful people who mattered to him, and Herodias trapped him and got what she wanted. John didn’t return from the dead after his martyrdom, but his message never died. In fact, it lived on, because it was the truth and the truth can never be erased. People try to forget the truth at times, but it doesn’t take long for something to arise and remind them of it.

Let’s not be shy about communicating hard truths, because we know the truth not only sets us free, but can liberate others as well.

Readings: Sirach 47:2–11; Psalm 18:31, 47, 50–51; Mark 6:14–29. See also 17th Week in Ordinary Time, SaturdayPassion of St. John the Baptist, and 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.