A birthday party, a fancy banquet -- Herod is having a grand time. A beautiful woman dances. Herod flamboyantly promises her whatever she wants in gratitude for her dance. She wants what? Herod is stuck with his promise; his decision has consequences. John the Baptist's death casts a shadow across the hearts of the disciples of Jesus.
Although Jesus was stung by the hardened hearts of those in his own hometown, he realized that the prophet is not without honor -- except in his own hometown. So he moves on and begins to train his disciples. Two by two he sends them out to work in pairs, building their own relationships as they work with those who accept their ministry.
Jesus heals two people, an elderly woman and a young girl, neither of whom had any status in their community. The power that was flowing out from Jesus into them can also flow into the things that need healing in our lives, but we must risk opening up to receive it. Jesus seems to insist that the most important work happens in the ordinary and that our faith makes us well.