Jesus only appears in the first verse of Sunday’s hard Gospel reading (Mark 6:14-29). The story is the execution of John the Baptist – a horrible story of a weak, cowardly leader more concerned with saving face than doing the right thing. Herod supposedly admires John, finds him to be “a righteous and holy man” and “like[s] to listen to him.” Yet if that were the case, why execute him, or even, why imprison him in the first place?
Going along with the crowd, going along with others, not taking a stand, preferring to act out of self-interest instead of out of love of God and neighbor…well, we’ve all seen it before, and many of us can understand it on some level where the stakes are much, much less than a man’s life. Where is the Good News?
God in Jesus forgives it all, takes it all, “gathers up all things in him,” as is written in the Letter to the Ephesians. There is nothing that separates any of us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-9). This is good news, even for Herod.