Jesus causes the evil King Herod to be afraid and to seek Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so his conscience can be guided by the Spirit and by seeking the Gift of Piety from the Spirit so he can be moved and build a habit to frequently spend a holy hour of Adoration with Jesus. 

Liturgy

25th Week in Ordinary time – Thursday – Lk 9:7-9

Commentary

After murdering the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, and hearing about the many miracles of Christ Jesus, Herod the Tetrarch is full of anxiety and absurdly wonders if John has reincarnated as Jesus. Herod, enslaved by evil, is swayed by every anxiety, unable to receive the peace and joy of Jesus because of his unbelief. 

John was a powerful prophet of miraculous birth who lived an austere and rugged life in the desert. John courageously came to Herod and condemned Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias, as unlawful. Herod was intrigued by John, but locked John up in a dank prison cell to silence his condemnation of Herod’s incestuous marriage.  Herod, whose name ironically means, “hero-like”, was an antihero, a man with a vile and corrupt character: he had an adulterous and incestuous relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodias, who was also Herod’s niece; he, perhaps fueled by gluttonous consumption of wine, pridefully made ridiculous oaths while he lusted over the young daughter of Herodias, his grand-niece, as she seductively danced; cowardly, unwilling to break his lust oath to grant his grand-niece anything she desired, he beheaded the innocent John the Baptist. Grotesquely, he had John the Baptist’s head brought on a platter to his birthday feast for the amusement of the evil Herodias and his guests. Herod is a weak and despicably evil man who will collude with Pilate to crucify Jesus during Passion Week. 

The evil Herod, searching in vain for peace but mired in sin, was first intrigued by John the Baptist and now is obsessed with Jesus.  St. Augustine’s words resonate: “Our hearts are restless until we rest in You.” The pathetic and murderous Herod, unwilling to renounce evil, is destined to suffer in eternal agony.  

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by Jesus, Son of Man, who causes great anxiety in powerful and evil men because of His Divine Presence, Power and miraculous acts: Herod the Great is so fearful of the newborn Jesus that he “Slaughters the Innocents”; Herod the Tetrarch (one of Herod the Great’s sons) is deeply troubled by Jesus, and His forerunner, John the Baptist.

Seek the Spirit’s counsel to guide your conscience

Realize: Like Herod the Tetrarch, men’s minds are dulled by drink, food, entertainment, and sex. Also like Herod, a man’s sins gnaw on him: God has given every man a conscience, an inherent understanding of good and evil which judges his acts, condemns sin and stands as a witness to evil deeds in his soul.

Believe: Reflect upon Moral Conscience (CCC 1776-1789).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so my moral conscience is enlightened by You and I can immediately know and choose to do God’s will in every situation; Holy Spirit, guide me now to examine my conscience, repent, and be forgiven by Jesus Christ in His Sacrament of Penance. 

Ask the Spirit for the piety to Adore Christ

Realize: Herod the Tetrarch, despite being evil, “kept trying to see Him [Christ]”, many Catholic men don’t realize they can actually see and spend personal time with Jesus in Adoration; every Catholic man is called to have a regular practice of Adoration during which he has the astounding privilege to sit in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, who resides in the Tabernacle. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Adoration of Christ (CCC 2096, 2628).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Piety so I am always moved to give thanks, glory and praise to Jesus and I build a habit to regularly take a holy hour to “see Him” in Adoration.