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in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

September 26th, 2013
Kevin Ryan
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[452] Hag 1:1-8
Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a+9
Luke 9:7-9

“And he kept trying to see him.”

Herod the Tetrarch plays quite an interesting role in the Gospels.  He is the son of Herod the Great who conquered the entire Palestine region—a section of which Herod the Tetrarch now rules.  Herod seems to live quite an eccentric and carefree life by squandering the benefits of his wealth and power on parties and mistresses.  The Gospels say he loved to listen to John the Baptist speak but did not live by his words.  Following the request of one of his mistresses, he beheaded John.  But shortly after he heard about Jesus he became perplexed and obsessed with finding him.  But considering his treatment of John the Baptist, why was Herod so adamant in finding Jesus?

Obviously after the beheading of John the Baptist, Herod is not willing to abide by the teachings of Jesus.  It is fairly clear he is seeking Jesus purely out of self-interest.  He wants to know how this man who has performed such extraordinary miracles and moved thousands of people by word and deed can work a special miracle for him.  He hears about Jesus’ miracles, and he only has money, power, and pleasure for himself in mind.

Examining Herod more deeply should cause us to ask ourselves why we are seeking Jesus.  What motivates us to pray, go to Mass, and follow the teachings of Jesus?  Is it because we are just trying to attain Heaven or some kind of miracle or benefit for ourselves here on earth?  Are we truly devoted to doing God’s will, or are we just trying to do the minimum to get what we think we want? 

Desiring to go to Heaven or to receive a miracle are not inherently bad desires, but they shouldn’t be our only motivation to be Christians.  Our ultimate goal should be establishing God’s kingdom on earth by loving others and helping others attain heaven.  That means taking a hard and humble look at ourselves and reminding ourselves that everything we have, everything we are—right down to life itself—been given to us by the grace of God.  We are called to offer our gifts back to God through service to him and to others.  We shouldn’t do this out of self-interest, but out of the desire to bring ourselves and others into communion with Jesus, which consequently will earn us eternal happiness in the end.

The challenge today is to remember and to reevaluate why we seek Jesus, why we are so perplexed by him, and why we are called to do more than follow Christ out of our own self-interest.  Jesus constantly showed a greater love to others than to himself. We are challenged to take up our cross and follow Christ’s example, which can bring us closer to God and one another.

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