Daily Gospel Reflection – Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
February 4, 2022
Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John 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. Herodias 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. His 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?” Her mother 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.
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel is a prelude to Jesus feeding the multitude in the desert. There is a darkness at the beginning of this famous account. We hear that John the Baptist has just been murdered; later, we hear that Jesus has withdrawn into a remote and deserted place, fearing probably that the same fate might be his.
His charisma and reputation are such that thousands come seeking him out, even in this out-of-the-way and dangerous locale. There are many overtones and undertones for the biblically minded reader. For example, there’s the prophet who is under threat—as were Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jeremiah, and Elijah. This is the terrible fate of the one who speaks for God: hunted down, forced into exile, not at home in this world.