A Reading from the Book of Mark 6:17-34 (Modern Standard Version)

17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[a]; yet he liked to listen to him.

21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of[b] Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The executioner went to John in prison, but John pleaded with him that he may speak to Herod. 28 John was brought before the king and stated with great eloquence, “King Herod, I’ve been contemplating your situation and I realize I was wrong to preach against your illicit union with your brother’s wife.” 29 King Herod asked “How have you come to this conclusion? Before, you were very adamant that I was engaging in sexual immorality.” 30 John the Baptist said, “I know that you have examined your conscience and you believe you are acting appropriately. I realize that you are engaging in objectively grave sins but mitigating circumstances have reduced your culpability to a subjectively venial state. 31 Therefore, after discussing this with the High Priest [the Pope], along with consulting a scroll about the joy of love [Amoris Laetitia] as well as considering the recent decisions of the assembly of Goths [German Bishop’s Conference] and peoples from parts of the world that are hitherto undiscovered [Argentinian bishops], I have determined that you may be admitted back into communion with the community of Israel [the Catholic Church] without confession and without a firm purpose of amendment. 32 Herod said, “Ye gods, this is wonderful news! I am so glad you are willing to accompany me on my faith journey.” 33 John said with the joy of love in his heart, “Forgive me, King Herod, I recently realized I was not letting the fresh air of the Spirit of God breathe in my heart. These new winds have swept through the old dusty house of my former intransigent and intolerant views and now I realize that I should be merciful because, after all, the name of God is mercy. Moreover, I now believe it is so much more important for us to have an encounter with God’s love so that we may create a culture of witness. Now, let us go into the world together and make a difference!” 34 And so it came to pass that John the Baptist and Herod the Great resolved their differences and became witnesses of tolerance, love and mutual understanding.


3 thoughts on “A Reading from the Book of Mark 6:17-34 (Modern Standard Version)

    1. Michael

      That’s not as fun. In the modern rendering of the story they all lived happily ever after in a state of mutual enrichment!

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