Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Friday 8 February 2019
Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
The Gospel today describes how John the Baptist was victim of the corruption and of the arrogance of the government of Herod. The text gives us much information about the time of the life of Jesus and on the way in which the powerful of the time exercised power. 
From the beginning of the Gospel of Mark we perceive or see a situation of suspense. He had said, “After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God!”. 
Galilee, the land of Jesus, was governed by Herod Antipas, 43 years. During the whole lifetime of Jesus, there had been no change in the government of Galilee! Herod was the absolute lord. But the one who really commanded was the Roman Empire. Herod, in order to not be removed from office, tried to please Rome in everything. The only thing that concerned or worried him was his security and promotion. 
Flavius Josephus, a writer of that time, says that the reason for the imprisonment of John the Baptist was  Herod’s fear of a popular revolt. Herod liked to be called benefactor of the people, but in reality he was a tyrant. John’s denouncement of him (Mk 6: 18) was the drop which filled up the cup, and John was thrown into prison.
 In this environment the murder of John the Baptist was plotted. John, the prophet, was a living denouncement in this corrupt system. This is why he was eliminated under the pretext of personal vengeance. Mark gives an account of how things happened and lets the community draw its own conclusions.