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Reflections on Next Week's Readings

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19.  Following King David’s capture of Jerusalem, he sets out to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the new Royal City.  The ark proceeds into the city that David has captured with extravagant liturgy 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 center of David's kingdom.

Psalm 24.  As pilgrims go up to God's holy place for worship, they cleanse themselves and praise the just Lord, who has created all things.

Ephesians 1:3-14.   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.  

Mark 6:14-29.   Our gospel story tells 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 a banquet at which Herodius's daughter performed, the king rashly promised the girl whatever request she might make. At her mother's prompting, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist. John's fearlessness, Herodias’ brutality, and Herod’s expediency intersect and lead to John’s martyrdom.