A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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.
Good News Reflection:
In today’s Gospel reading, we read about King Herod’s curiosity. He wanted to meet Jesus because of all the fascinating news he had heard about this miracle-worker from Nazareth.
Sadly, meeting Jesus face to face did not change Herod’s life. Why not?
Curiosity about the supernatural is a good thing. It impels us to use our God-given gifts of intelligence, creativity and imagination to find new paths for growing spiritually, new ways of helping others, new solutions to old problems, and new discoveries that improve our lives and bring us closer to God. But if we’re not willing to face the challenging truths that holy curiosity invariably leads us to, we turn away from God and follow our passions into sinful or harmful predicaments.
Herod didn’t want to face the truth that stared him in the face. Preferring to remain comfortable with his own perspectives and goals and attitudes, he let his curiosity about Jesus carry him only as far as it fit within his choice of lifestyle.
How many times do we look away when we hear a truth or face a reality that we don’t like? Have you ever stopped asking questions because you didn’t like the answers? Which is worse: doubting the truth or doubting the misconceptions that you’ve been living by? Doubt is good if it stirs up our curiosity and if we have the humility to let the Holy Spirit contradict our old, familiar, comfortable ways of thinking.
When curiosity is merely fascination, it can do us more harm than good. We flit here and there, directionless, getting our egos stroked, fooling ourselves into believing that we’re truth seekers while we’re really truth avoiders.
When curiosity leads us to the discomforts of humility, repentance, and selflessness, we can be sure that we’ve reached an important milestone on our journey to heaven. Will we look around for something new to distract us? Or will we look for the wounded hand of Jesus to grab onto, even though it doesn’t feel good?
To grow closer to God, we have to be curious about what needs changing within us. We have to ask new questions about ourselves and not be afraid of the answers.
There is nothing to fear, no matter what discoveries we make about our vulnerability to sin, because Jesus is with us — the same Jesus who already died for us and nailed our sins to his cross, the same Jesus who conquered the destruction of sin. When we humbly admit our need for forgiveness, his sacrifice on the cross frees us to move into the resurrection that brings us new life. Here, we discover healing, increased love, and unexpected joy!
Lord: Following You cleans both my soul and my heart. Give me courage to accept my limitations, and purify the intentions that help me grow closer to You. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica