Hebrews 13:1-8 / Mark 6:14-29
Imitate your forefathers; Love your fellow Hebrews.
One Sunday morning a pastor began his homily by holding up a huge triangle. Then he said, “My homily this morning is like this triangle. It too has three points.“The first point is this. Because we are failing to love one another, as Jesus taught us, people are starving and hurting in today’s world. “The second point is that most people don’t give a damn about it. “The third point is that you are more concerned about the fact that I just said damn than you are about the fact that our failure to love is causing suffering and pain in our world.”
Are we more scandalized by the word damn than by the pain caused by our failure to love? “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.” G. b. Shaw
The letter to the Hebrews gives today to the Christian community a set of moral exhortations. Perseverance in the faith means especially perseverance in love, the basis of all morality. With the death of the Baptist ends the life of the last prophet of God of the Old Testament, who, as the hinge between the Old and the New Testaments, had prepared the way for the Lord’s coming. He died as a suffering servant of God, a new Elijah, who stood up to kings and infamous queens. ****
In the cycle of life, there is this reality of retribution that cannot be denied. Call it whatever, it stems from the Golden Rule, i.e. "Do to others what you want others to do unto you". Obviously, this is not limited to one-to-one situation. More so in the case of an evil deed, the elimination of the victim does not mean that retribution for the aggressor will not take place.
From the gospel, we can see this happening to king Herod. He had John the Baptist beheaded because he made an oath to the daughter of Herodias in the presence of his guests. But king Herod knew that John the Baptist was innocent and that he was a good and holy man. So, when he heard of Jesus and the miraculous powers at work in Him, disturbing thoughts of John the Baptist came to his mind. And this was just the beginning of the retribution that he would have to face, even though John the Baptist was already dead.
The 1st reading puts the Golden Rule in a more positive way as it says: Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. And we also know that whatever we do to others, we do it to Jesus. May we always treat others with love, and be assured that in the end, it is Jesus who will reward us.
Lord our God, John the Baptist spoke without fear to the high and the mighty that they too were bound by God’s laws. He risked his life for what is right and good. Let him inspire us too to let your word become flesh and blood in us by taking the risks of our faith and living as we believe. Let this be the way in which we prepare the fuller coming among us of Jesus Christ our Lord.