Herod is a very interesting figure. He is a man of power and yet he is not completely our paradigmatic evil and despotic ruler. In today’s Gospel, he wishes to see Jesus whose reputation is increasing. He must have wondered who exactly this man Jesus was such that the people are now talking about him a lot. Would he be a threat to him? We know, of course, how weak Herod is as a person, perhaps lacking in discernment and will power. He is the one who had John imprisoned and then beheaded after having made an oath. On the other hand, Herod must have been interested in meeting Jesus personally. In life, when we handle power like Herod did, we are shaken or at least concerned when we hear of possible threats to our authority. And so we do something: investigate, find out more about the person. Sometimes, though, we find out that those threats are more imagined than real. Thus, we begin to change our attitude towards the person. Still, expectations of people might force us to go against our “instinct” about the person we have come to know better. And so, in the end, even against our will, we succumb to pressure from others. This is what happened to Herod who eventually had John beheaded. How strong are we in our convictions? Do we allow people to dictate what we decide on?
GOSPEL • 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.
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