In today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 6:14-29), there is a powerful story about the importance, and cost, of standing up for marriage:
 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.”  But others said, “It is Eli’jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”  But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”  For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero’di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her.  For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  And Hero’di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,  for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.  But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.  For when Hero’di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.”  And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”  And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.”  And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.  And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,  and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.  When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
There is a strong message in the Gospel about the sanctity of marriage and the cost of being a witness to that sanctity: (more…)