Friday, May 3, 2013

Notes on Mark: John the Baptist's Self-Offering

MARK 6: 14-16
One of the things I love about this commentary is how it shows context in the parallels that Mark draws for us. Granted, those are parallels I'd never notice unless they were pointed out. I guess that just goes to show that I'm not a very observant reader. However, this particular parallel and the point made about John the Baptist's self-offering is one that resonates with my Catholic soul in considering the times I unite my suffering with Christ on his Cross. 
Between the accounts of the apostles setting out on their mission and returning from it, Mark inserts an interlude: the sordid story of Herod's banquet and his execution of John the Baptist. The placement of this episode is by no means accidental. As Mark already hinted in 1:14, John's life is in a mysterious way patterned on that of Christ; his death foreshadows Jesus' death. The passion of John recounted here coincides with the first mission of the apostles, as the passion of Jesus will give birth to the Church's mission in which the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world. With this parallel Mark suggests that John's self-offering shares, in a hidden way, in the spiritual fruitfulness of the sacrifice of Christ.
Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: Gospel of Mark

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