Our Gospel this morning centers on Herod the ruler. Herod is not doing well. He is perplexed. He is hearing all sorts of things about Jesus. He has no idea who Jesus really is or what Jesus is capable of. Jesus might be a serious threat to his power. This scares Herod.
At the end of our Gospel this morning, Herod makes an important decision. Herod decides he has heard enough about Jesus and now wants to see Jesus directly. While I do not recommend modeling your life on Herod, there is something we can learn from what he does here. I firmly believe we can always learn something from someone we consider evil or toxic, and Herod is no exception.
Like Herod, we are all going to hear all sort of things about Jesus. This is especially true if you go to church or are like me and live in a monastery. I hear about Jesus all the time. As good as that is, at a certain point, like Herod, we all want to cut through the noise and meet Jesus directly.
It is important to remember that this desire to meet Jesus directly is good. It is a healthy desire. It is a healthy desire to cultivate, day after day, with seeds of prayer and work.
The good news is that Jesus is already available. If you feel the desire to meet Jesus directly, that means he is already calling you. God is already at work inside of you.
Above all else, remember that Jesus loves you. Jesus wants to talk to you. Jesus wants to talk to you, just like you want to talk to someone you love.
Jesus also wants to be with you. The desire we cultivate for Jesus is mutual. Jesus wants to be with us just as much as we want to be with Jesus. This is a loving relationship.
In closing, I’ll share with you one practice I follow in my friendship with Jesus. I keep a crucifix above my bed. Frequently, when go into my cell, I will walk up to my crucifix, look Jesus face to face and say “thank you Jesus”. It’s a simple practice, but it forces me to always be on speaking terms with Jesus. To have Jesus, hands and feet nailed to a cross, hanging above my pillow, and me saying thank you for his sacrifice, it keeps me grounded. It reminds me that my desire for Jesus can, has, and will be consummated.
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