The Gospel according to Luke (9:7-9)
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.
Opening Prayer: Dear Father, you sent your only son to restore our relationship with you. May today’s gospel help us to recognize Jesus, not as the world sees him but as he is, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
Encountering Christ: Throughout my life many people influenced me in such a way that I wanted to be like them or at least emulate some of their characteristics. In my youth there were my grandparents, parents, and close family friends. In high school there were teachers, coaches, and older friends. And later, as an adult, people who sincerely tried to live their lives according to the example and teachings of Jesus. All had something in common. I was attracted to how they treated me and others with dignity, affection, and love.
All our lives, whether we know it or not we are searching for more, trying to become better people. We want to improve on so many levels including spiritually. Even people who do not profess any kind of religion or faith expression have an innate desire for more meaning and understanding.
In today’s gospel, this brief passage about Herod is interestingly placed in the midst of Jesus’ ministry and in particular in between the sending and return of apostles. Herod was curious about Jesus but confused by the advice he was getting about who Jesus was. Herod’s curiosity appears to be fueled by a desire for amusement or maybe deep down a sincere desire, like with John, to listen to what he had to say. However, Herod seems to represent those in the world whose curiosity only leads to a knowledge that satisfies superficial interest and stops there.
For those who are looking for much more, we too must go beyond our mere curiosity to know Jesus through stories and miracles. To recognize him in our everyday lives we need to know him on personal level. This calls for a deeper commitment to invest in an intimate relationship that reveals the kindness, mercy, and incredible intense love of the one who came to save you, me, and everyone who wants more than just to satisfy a curiosity.
Occasionally we fall away, lose our sense of direction, or are no longer able to recognize Jesus in our midst. At times we lose our zeal for a relationship with the only one who can make us whole. We have all been challenged with a faith life that seems to float along with a lack of purpose or direction.
Is it time for us to rekindle the fire that can burn so bright and intense that it not only illuminates our hearts but also those around us? Even better, allows us to see Jesus as he was, is, and always will be, the Messiah, the savior, redeemer, healer, true God and true man. And, to see him in each other.
Curiosity can only take us so far. The rest of the journey, although challenging and not always understood, can only be made with a sincere response to the gift God gives us all. A deep and lingering desire for more. More you, more us, more Him!
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, because we were created in your image, we have within us a desire know and serve you better. May the life, death, and resurrection of your son, our brother provide us with the grace we need today and everyday to seek and share more of the blessings you are so generous to give us always.
Action for the Day: Everyone of us has room for improvement. We should continue to grow in faith, knowledge, and service until the day we go home. What area of my faith life needs the most attention? Pray for God’s grace and make the change(s) needed.