The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Reflection (Gerald M. Moscardon)
Is the search for Jesus really that perplexing? Herod, in today’s Gospel, kept trying to see the real Jesus amidst all the rumors he has heard about Him. Who is this Jesus? Yes, the wonders He has done has reached him but to no effect because his heart was not open to God’s Word. No surprise there because he was the one who ordered the beheading of John. He had John’s head cut off because the latter confronted him with his sins and he took it with grudge. He had beheaded a righteous and holy man, whom he liked to listen to, yet gave in to the request of Herodias because of a promise. He killed the one who preached about repentance and conversion, the one who prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah.
I reflected upon the Gospel passage and listened intently on what Jesus was trying to tell me. Yes, I am seeking Him especially now that I am in seminary formation but am I truly seeking Him or, just like Herod, am I just “beheading” the “Johns” that God is sending me? In my search for Jesus, God sends me “Johns” to somewhat prepare me in really meeting and knowing His Son in my priestly formation. I may be confronted with my sins and issues from the past but I have to face them with courage, acceptance, repentance and the desire to change. I must learn to accept my weaknesses and helplessness and acknowledge that I need Jesus to overcome them.
I may be enjoying and learning a lot from my formation but when I am tempted to revert back to my sinful ways, will I be strong enough to resist? I must follow a true path of repentance and conversion. If I am really serious in following Jesus, I must follow the path that God has been paving for me no matter how hard the journey might be. I must be ready to accept Jesus in my heart and be open to His call of service and sacrifice.
As a priest in process, I have to embrace all the “Johns” that God is sending me through my formators, brother-seminarians, counselors, professors, community demands, and academic and spiritual requirements to truly find and follow Jesus more closely.