REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 23, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” Lk. 9:7-8
Herod kept wondering who Jesus was from the many stories he heard about Him since most of Jesus ministry took place within the region Herod domain. Herod asked a very good question even when he had hardened his heart to the answer.
Today’s Gospel concludes by saying that Herod kept trying to see Jesus. Of course, Herod, just like anyone living in that region, could have traveled to where Jesus was preaching to listen to Him at any time. But he did not instead, he continued to receive reports about Jesus and remained curious about Him, trying to find a way to figure out Who Jesus was.
As Christians what do we know of Jesus? God intended us to have an intimate personal relationship with Jesus before we were created. God delights in revealing his love, his plan his very being to those of us who sit quietly and ask him to teach them.
Try to imagine what would have happened if Herod would have traveled to where Jesus was preaching to listen to Him with an open heart. If he would have done that, and truly listened, Herod would have received one of the greatest gifts imaginable. He would have received the gift of faith and conversion and would have begun down the road toward eternal salvation.
But Herod was living an immoral life. He was known to be a cruel leader and an unrepentant adulterer. He loved his power and was quite jealous of it. Herod most likely knew, at least in the back of his mind, that if he were to listen to Jesus, he would have to change. And he most likely didn’t want to change.
We are presented today with a powerful message. As individual, we can easily dismiss various communications and invitations from Jesus, because deep within us we do not want to change. God keeps speaking to us every day of our lives. He is constantly offering us His message of love and mercy.
Although, we may be open to much of what God is saying to us, there are most likely parts of His divine message that we either knowingly or unknowingly do not listen to. The key to being able to hear everything that God wants to speak to us is to be disposed to completely change in any and every way that God wants us to change.
Reflect, today on Herod’s curiosity about Jesus. This is a good quality, in that it’s much better than being indifferent. Ponder also on the fact that Herod never went to Jesus to listen to Him. His meeting with Jesus was when he interrogated Jesus and made fun of Him. As you consider Herod’s obstinacy, use it as an examination of your own life. Where you see any small reflection of obstinacy, fear of change or a closed heart, seek to remedy that by turning to our Lord telling Him you are open to all He wishes to say and that you are ready and willing to change in any way He calls you to do so. Do not fear the change our Lord wants of you. Embracing that change will land you on the quick and narrow road toward true holiness of life.
Lord, You call to me day and night, inviting me to change as I listen to Your holy Word. I thank You for these constant promptings of grace and commit myself to remain open to all that You ask of me. I choose You, my Lord. And as I turn to You, I pray that I will have the courage I need to respond wholeheartedly to Your call. Jesus, I trust in You.