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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 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.

REFLECTION: "Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man."

Have you ever regretted doing or not doing something?

Monday, we lost a dear friend whom we have known for over thirty years. Our families went on vacations, soccer games, baseball and basketball games, floated down the Guadalupe river and cooked by the campfire.

Then our kids went to different high schools/colleges and our paths did not meet anymore. We went our separate ways but always sent each other Christmas cards.

As I prepare for the wake and requiem mass and reception, I regret not trying harder to keep our friendship up to date and current.

Herod was a pompous king who was prideful and arrogant. Though John the Baptist got under his skin, he enjoyed listening to him and at times, the message perplexed him. However, it was his social standing and his lack of discipline that did not allow him to get to know John the Baptist better.

And then the boundary was crossed and for the sake of his reputation he allowed John to be beheaded.

Did King Herod regret what he did? His conscience would not allow him to forget. He was confused and perplexed about this holy man who had more to offer him. It was fear that drove Herod to his misery of worrying if John had come back.

May we seek the virtue of humility realizing that there is a Divine purpose for every good person who makes memories with us.

God Bless

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