Words have consequences. Actions have meanings. Actions have consequences too. Words without actions are many times meaningless. Actions speak louder than words...some times. These rather trite sentences are maxims heard throughout time. Although trite and over-used, these phrases do hold some basic human truth within them. We can see all of them at play within today's Gospel reading from Mark.
We have Mark giving us the background story to John the baptizer's murder by Herod at the behest of a young girl with whom he had become besotted. Herod makes a public promise to give her anything she wants, even half his kingdom, and at her mother's urging, she demands John's head. Herod has set a trap for himself by his words and by his actions. They are intertwined in an interesting way. And they are juxtaposed against the actions of the 12 disciples out there in the world following Jesus' commands: healing and casting out demons and anointing the sick with oil.
We have today: rash words, wrongful actions done to protect an ego pitted against good works, right actions, loving words. Which do we follow?
Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.