THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
First Reading: 2 Samuel 6: 1-5, 12B -19
Comment: “David dances before the ark of God”
In our Hebrew Scripture reading, King David sets out to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the new royal city of Jerusalem. The ark proceeds with extravagant liturgy into the city that David has captured and is set in a tent that he has prepared. David leads the procession in exuberant dance. One of his wives, Saul’s daughter Michal, perhaps representing the old order which David
is replacing, despises him. With the arrival of the ark, Jerusalem becomes both the cultic and religious centre of David’s kingdom.
As pilgrims go up to God’s holy place for worship, they cleanse themselves and praise the just Lord, who has created all things.
SECOND READING (The Epistle): Ephesians 1:3-14
Comment: “Chosen to live in praise of God”
In this reading, Paul praises God for the glorious inheritance that has been ordained for those who are now the children of God. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, our freedom from sin is made possible. Now we share in the mystery of God’s plan to form a universal community in association with Christ. In all this we have the Holy Spirit as a kind of pledge or down payment for the fullness of the heritage to come.
THE HOLY GOSPEL: Mark 6:14-29
Comment: “The death of John the Baptist”
Our Gospel story is of the death of John the Baptist by order of King Herod. John the Baptist’s preaching sharply criticized Herod for his marriage to Herodias,
who had been the wife of Herod’s brother, Philip. Herod was intrigued and also fearful of John, but at the banquet at which Herodias’ daughter performed, the
king rashly promised the girl whatever request she might make. At her mother’s prompting, the girl asks for the head of John the Baptist. John’s fearlessness, Herodias’ brutality, and Herod’s expediency thus intersect and lead to John’s martyrdom.