Herod’s Perplexity – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof

Luke 9:7-9

In today’s very brief gospel lesson, we get a glimpse into the heart of Herod Antipas, the Roman Jew who was the ruler of Galilee and Perea during Jesus’ lifetime.  This short text from Luke’s gospel reveals that he is both frightened of Jesus and fascinated by him.  It calls to mind Herod’s relationship to Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist.  We read in Mark 6:20 that Herod “feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.  When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.”  We know the rest of the story, don’t we… John’s popularity posed a threat to Herod and he had John arrested and imprisoned.  Not long afterwards, in a state of drunkenness at a party he was hosting, Herod made an extravagant promise to his daughter, which led to John’s beheading.  It was a promise he deeply regretted.  It is clear that he was both fascinated by John and fearful of John’s influence. Read More

Herod the Perplexed – Br. Jack Crowley 

Br. Jack Crowley headshot

Br. Jack Crowley

Luke 9:7-9

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.  Read More