MEMORIAL OF SAINT PIUS OF PIETRELCINA, PRIEST
23RD SEPTEMBER 2021
HEROD' S PERPLEXITY AND THE JESUS WE SEEK TO MEET!
If Herod is perplexed by what Jesus did to the point of wanting to see Jesus, is he fully aware of what it entails when it comes to seeing Jesus? Does he want to meet Jesus out of curiosity or does he want to gain spiritually from meeting Jesus? Was Jesus like a celebrity those days whom almost everyone wants to meet?
The Gospel reading quotes Herod saying, " John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things? " It is highly probable that Herod's desire to see Jesus happened soon after the beheading of John the Baptist.
The stings of conscience that the beheading of John occasioned to Herod were bitter because he had committed it in an unguarded hour, contrary to the dictates of his own mind.
Just as he was confused during the beheading of John the Baptist, in today's Gospel reading, Herod is also confused about the identity of Jesus because Jesus and John did works that had truth in them, preaching fearlessly; even though John baptized but Jesus did not, John wrought no miracle but Jesus did many miracles and therefore appears more formidable than John.
If Herod is perplexed about Jesus and wants to see him, it is because in Jesus he sees the truth that John embodied but now Jesus goes deeper and makes Herod re- think whether he made the right choice to behead John. He has what we call spiritual embarrassment, like the one the prodigal son had.
The prodigal son made a statement that his father' s servants were better off than him and this embarrassed him and he wanted to be better off like them.
The good that he saw in the life of his father's servants awoke his dead conscience.
Was Herod really genuine in his desire to see Jesus? Did he really want Jesus to reprove him for his mistakes? Why is it that when he finally met Jesus as recorded in Luke 23,he was pleased but still mocked Jesus and treated him with contempt by telling him to perform miracles but Jesus declined making Herod put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.
Where does your spiritual desire end? Does it end at the level of smelling the aroma of the spiritual food but you do not want to digest it and make it part of your life? Generally, when you want to meet someone you do so with an agenda that you will discuss, by sharing opinions and exchanging ideas and making decisions but it seems Herod only wanted to sarcastically and excitedly meet Jesus.
We appreciate and recognize Herod's desire to meet Jesus, which he did but remained obstinate meaning it is upon us now to come forward and fill the gap he didn't and be changed by Jesus and see how grace and truth taste like, smell like, feel like, look like and sounds like; and the time to do all these is now.
The desire to see Jesus is not just about faith, comfort or satisfaction or comics but it is about being drawn deeply into the Kingdom of God through our love for truth, our service to those around us, our faith in action, our resolve to leave behind everything and follow the way of God and to attentively listen to God's word.
Is the Jesus that Herod wanted to see the Jesus that we also want to encounter? Why do we want to encounter him? If we encounter him, will we be saved from a dead conscience that we may be having?