Thursday of the 25th Week of the Year

Luke 9:7-9

Herod’s Opinion of Jesus

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

What a short gospel. Three verses only: some rumors about Jesus, some wondering by Herod. That’s it. Where is the good news?

Maybe the last sentence can lead us to a message: “And he kept trying to see Him.” The “he” is Herod and the “Him” is Jesus.

If Herod, the ruler of Galilee, was so eager to see Jesus who preached and worked miracles mostly in Galilee, why didn’t he actually meet him until that day when Pontius Pilate sent the arrested Jesus to him (Lk 23:79)?

Obviously, Herod was not really interested in Jesus, especially not in his message. He regarded Jesus only as a curiosity who might be able to entertain him with some magic, by walking across the swimming pool of his palace, for instance. But to believe in Him and to do what he would demand? To finally give up his brother’s wife, as the Baptist had already demanded? Forget it!

There are some Christians who seem to reflect Herod’s attitude. Curiously they go to church only when there is something going on, like Christmas or fiesta. But to do what the church teaches, forget it.

The remarks of a journalist struck me. He admitted that he didn’t go to church frequently, but he attacked the church’s present guidance concerning the immorality of certain political issues. Like Herod he was not interested in the teachings of the church from Pope John XXIII down to Pope John Paul II concerning the church as moral conscience of a nation and her obligation to stand up for truth and morals.

Such arrogant ‘Herods” remain ignorant and confuse many. They are curious but not interested in the real teaching, because they don’t like to change. A real encounter with Christ never leaves a person the way he was before. And that risk, unfortunately, many don’t like to take, like Herod, the ruler of Galilee. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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FOR THE FEAST OF ST LORENZO RUIZ – The desire for happiness is natural and universal. The understanding of happiness, though, differs. St. Augustine, quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, approves the statement: “Happy is he who has all the desires, provided he decided nothing amiss.”

The Beatitudes are about Christian happiness, they, for a fact, are a cameo-portrait of the happiest and perfect human being: Jesus Christ. What was Jesus only desire? “My food is to do the will who sent me,” (Jn 6:34).

“Blessed the poor in spirit” – Happy are those who totally trust is in the providence of the heavenly Father! “Blessed…they who mourn – Happy are those who see the evil done by the kingdom of Satan and work to establish the reign of God!

Another way of expressing beatitude or happiness on earth is in terms of love. Again, St. Augustine – “Ama, et fac quod vis.” “Love and do what you desire.”

“Blessed…those who hunger and thirst for justice” – the same as the preceding beatitude, expressed positively. “Blessed the merciful…” – same as the poor in spirit and meek.

St. Paul characterizes love as “patient…kind.” Half of the beatitudes fall under patience: poor in spirit, meek, merciful, persecuted; the other half fall under kind (the active side of love): mourn, hunger and thirst, clean of heart, peacemakers.

Blessed or happy are those who follow Jesus Christ! (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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There are names we like and there are names we despise. Today’s gospel mentions two names: John’s we like and Herod, a name we despise. John is a popular name. children, president and great men, schools and places, religious institutions and communities, orphanages and hospitals have been named after him. Why? It is because John is a biblical and a holy name, a name of cousin of Jesus, a name of a prophet and martyr.

Herod is a name we despise and hate. No child, school, religious institution and community would dare to call themselves after his name. Why? His name too is biblical, but it is associated with arrogance, abuse of power and disrespect for human life; a name responsible for the murder of an innocent man called John. One thing, however, was good about him. The gospel says: ‘he kept trying to see Him.” Herod was interested to meet Jesus.

The character of John and Herod can be present in our lives. We can be Herod to others when we don’t care and respect their rights. Perhaps, all we care is our popularity, interests, comfort zone, power and our faces no matter whom we hurt and destroy along the way. This was the real Herod. He didn’t care about the life of John; he cared more about not losing his face before others because of the oath he made to a girl and her mother.

We can be John too, just the opposite of Herod. We are John if we stand as the conscience of God to others and we never compromise what is true, moral and just. John followed and defended gospel values to the point of being killed. His critics and enemies could not tolerate Him because he disturbed them so badly.

Where do we stand? By which name do we want to be known and remembered. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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4 kinds of people go to church:

  1. Tourist
  2. Artist
  3. Circus goer
  4. True Christian

I remember a woman who came to me for a woman who came to me for counselling. She had just discovered her husband’s infidelity through the latter’s text messages. She had not confronted him yet about it. Instead she was thinking and finalizing first all her plans and options, and that included confronting the woman once she discovered where the woman lives.

The same feeling of insecurity was felt by King Herod in our gospel for today. “He was greatly perplexed….And he kept trying to see Him.” He was surely interested to see Jesus, not to welcome and befriend Him or be among His disciples. He had a sinister plan – to eliminate Jesus whenever he got the chance. To Herod, there should only be one king and that couldn’t be Jesus, but Him.

Reflect:

  1. When was I like King Herod?
  2. In the midst of my insecurity do I weigh things sufficiently and seek proper advice?
  3. Do I also seek Jesus in my moments of insecurity?
  4. My friends and family members can be my source of strength but they can also reinforce my negative feelings. (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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September 22, 2016 Thursday

A commentator declared that Filipino politicos offer three models of leadership and thus present themselves under three guises. The “populist leader” offers simplistic and short-lived solutions to highly complex legislative, administrative, fiscal and other issues. The “vigilante hero” focuses on drastic enforcement of the law and sanctions. The “problem solver” or statesman looks beyond the present for long-term and sustainable solutions.

On the other hand it is suggested that Filipino audiences are far from gullible; they regard campaigners mainly as opportunists who toy with their audiences’ sentiments, promising to meet their superficial interests without regard for consequences. This gives rise to three types of voters. One sells his vote, since that is at least some compensation he can get from the aggravation. Another votes only because the candidate seems to be the most tolerable of bad or mediocre choices. A third critically examines his options, creating scorecards prior to elections and weighting average performances so he can arrive at a more or less statistically defensible way of assessing the worth of electable leaders.

Herod the politician could never understand Jesus the Rabbi. Taking pity on the poor crowds, Jesus did respond to their immediate need for bread by multiplying what little they had in order to satisfy their hunger; but when they returned for a repeat performance he redirected them to the deeply religious and highly spiritual dimensions of his message. He showed extraordinary perspicacity and sensitivity to people who, while being alienated from the religious observances of his day, were basically good persons – Joseph of Arimathea, the Centurion, Zaccheus, and others, graciously underlining their openness of mind and heart to the truth where they found it. And when needed, he was un flinchingly straightforward with the perverse and the cunning, whose only concern was to preserve their interests and would not hold back from corrupt and evil means to pursue their goals. Jesus never treated his audiences as a politician but always as a teacher; as his audience, how are we absorbing the lessons he is imparting? (Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD President, USC, Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/902-september-22-2016-thursday

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Luke tells us that Herod wanted to see Jesus out of mere curiosity. Herod was not interested in seeing whether Jesus was truly a prophet, perhaps even the Messiah. There are many people like Herod who are interested in Jesus, only as a curiosity, or they just go with the crowd. There are other people who really wish to see Jesus, only they don’t know how to get close to him.

What is our interest in Jesus like? Is it shallow, merely a curiosity to know him historically? Do we seek to know Jesus as Savior, as Lord, as the Son of God? What does Jesus mean to us in our everyday lives? Is Jesus real to us, not only as the Risen Lord in heaven, “but in the Eucharist, in the Gospels, in the Church, in people?” What would we answer if a non-Christian asked us: “Who is this man, about whom I have heard all these reports?”

As we live our lives daily, we meet different kinds of people, the bored, the indifferent, the hopeful. As Christians, it is our task to introduce Christ to all of them and help them to enjoy the peace of the Truth of Christ. In order to do this, we must know Christ very well ourselves. Let us enrich ourselves with the knowledge of God so that we may also tell others of him.

One of the many attributes of St. Vincent de Paul was his love of the poor and needy. He saw in every woman and man he met the image of God. The congregation he founded has this work of charity as one of its principal ministries. Vincent loved God’s people and God, too, loves His people.

Today let’s reflect on that simple fact as found in the response to today’s Psalm: “The Lord takes delight in his people.”

The author of the book of Genesis records that God made woman and man in His own image.

St. Irenaeus noted “That the glory of God is a man/woman fully alive!”

The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote: “God, lover of souls, swaying considerate scales, complete thy creature dear of where he fails, being mighty a master, being a father and fond.”

And again: “…for Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not His to the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

And … “Let Him Easter in us…”

As the Psalmist wrote: “Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and harp, for God loves his people.”

And “God, You made me in my mother’s womb.”

And “I have called You by name, You are mine.”

Or again: “No where does God come so close to man as in man.”

“The Lord takes delight in his people.” Let that be the focus of this reflection.

Why and how and when does God take delight in you? What is it about you that God loves? What do you do that makes God laugh? What do you do that makes God pleased and proud that God crafted you? (Or makes God displeased and unhappy with God’s creation?)

Where, when and how do you find God in others? Do they find God in You? What things in my life make me more loving towards God and others? Thus allowing the Lord to take delight in you!

When and where do you take delight in God? In what time, place or circumstance is God most present to you? Most open to you delighting in God’s presence?

The grace desired in today’s prayer is to experience deeply the love that God has for you and you delighting in that love and the source of that love. (John P. Schlegel, S.J.)

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NARROW-MINDED: I am 35-years old boy today. As a boy, I had the bad habit of suspecting people wrongly, of accusing them unjustly, of branding them as bad or putting them in boxes.

My father detested that kind of attitude. Being a fair man, he encouraged me to be open-minded and to look at the goodness in people.

Whenever I would suspect people, accuse them or put them in boxes, as a way to stop me, my father would say, “It takes one to know the other.”

A thief will be angry at his fellow thief. If you are angry at certain people perhaps you see something of yourself in them. It takes one to know the other. In the same way, that it also takes one  good person to recognize another good person.

Herod the Tetrarch, whom we just heard about in the gospel, could not recognize Jesus because, indeed, it takes one to know another. It takes another Jesus to know another Jesus.

Herod did not have enough of Jesus in his heart. This is why he could not recognize Jesus even when Jesus came face to face with him. It takes one to know the other.

If we are unable to recognize Jesus in one another, could it be because we have not yet discovered Jesus in our hearts? If we have not yet seen the face of God in one another, could it be because we are not with Jesus? This is why we cannot recognize Him in one another.

As you pray for me, please pray for our community here at the EDSA Shrine as we will not fall into Herod’s situation. So that when Jesus comes in another person, we may recognize Him. It takes one to know another. It takes another Jesus to know another. May we be Jesus for one another. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp. 189-190)

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Luke tells us that when Herod heard of all Jesus was doing, he was perplexed. He asks, “Who is this man about whom I hear all these reports?” and “he was very curious to see him.” Though he had heard very much about Him, Herod fails to recognize Jesus for what He really is, a man from God.

The Gospel shows us how important it is to internalize our faith – to turn everything, all that we see and hear and do – into faith experiences. In this way, we come to be able to recognize Jesus when he appears in our midst. (John Seland, SVD, Reflections on the Daily Gospels, p. 156)

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The short passage in today’s gospel is uniquely found in St. Luke’s. The evangelist edited this passage into his material to prepare for another unique detail of Jesus’ life that he alone wrote about – that during the Passion of Jesus, Pilate sent Jesus also to King Herod, and Herod was pleased even for such a quick encounter (Lk 23:6ff).

In the story, Herod was perplexed about Jesus, because he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist who came back to life.  He had great guilt in his heart since he was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and killed.

Herod’s story makes us think about conscience. In our reading room, there hangs with the words: “Conscience is God’s built-in warning system. We should be happy when it bothers us.  We should be worried if it does not.” According to moral theologians, conscience works on three levels: antecedent (before the action), concomitant (while action is being done), and consequent (after the action is accomplished). The morality of the action is done when one decides to act on the level of antecedent conscience. However, the consequent conscience is important also since it leads us to repentance to a changing of ways.

Question is: Do we let our conscience work for us? (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday p.287)

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4 kinds of people go to church:

  1. Tourist
  2. Artist
  3. Circus goer
  4. True Christian

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Christ’s Compassion and Love. “Be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionately,” (Luke 6:36). When John Wesley visited a community in order to preach in their church, as he ascended the pulpit, a child sat on the steps directly in the way. Instead of asking “Why is that child allowed to sit there,” he gently took the little one on his arms, kissed her, and then placed her in the same spot where she had been sitting. How caring and lovely!

Leo Tolstoy, a great Russian writer, was passing along a street one day when a beggar stopped him and leaded for alms. Leo Tolstoy search his pockets or a coin, but finding none he regretfully said, “Please don’t be angry with me, brother, but i have nothing with me. If I did I would gladly give it to you. The beggar’s face flamed up. And he said, “”You have given me more than I asked for. You have called me brother.”

In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo tells of Jean Valjean whose only crime was to steal a loaf of bread to feed the starving children of his sister. After serving 19 years, he was released from the galleys. Unable to find work because he was ex-convict, he came to the house of a good bishop who kindly gave him his supper and a bed for the night.

Succumbing to temptation, Jean Valjean stole the bishop’s silver plates and spoons and slipped out but was soon caught. The kind bishop told the police, “Why, i gave them to him. And Jean, you forgot to take the candlesticks.” Jean was flabbergasted by the bishop’s kindness and this brought about his conversion. A little act of loving kindness can turn a sinner to our Savior.

(If King Herod would ask me who Jesus is) It’s would do us good to remember what Jesus taught us. “I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and let him slap you on the other cheek also…. Love your enemies…. Forgive and do good to those who maltreat you; pray for those who persecute you…. You must be compassionate just as your heavenly Father is compassionate.”

Jesus held up for us, not so much for our admiration, but more for our imitation, the example of the Good Shepherd. Finding the lost sheep, the Good Shepherd didn’t drag roughly or beat the sheep for straying unnecessarily, but he put it on his shoulders. The father didn’t scold or shout the prodigal son, no, he rather hugged him, dressed him to the nines and even held a feast, not just a party, for him.

Jesus’ compassion and loving forgiveness, illustrated strikingly in the way he handled the case of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus was not only forgiving to the woman he sinned, but also compassionate with her accusers – the leaders and elders who were ever-eager to stone her to death. He didn’t scream and yell at them or at anyone. He just bent over and gently wrote something in the sand.

Yes, the gospel invites us to learn from our Lord. He is telling us: Be careful and compassionate as your heavenly father is caring and compassionate; be loving and forgiving as your Most-loving Father is loving and forgiving; in short, be perfect as your Most Holy Father is perfect. And let us pray that He will make us compassionate, forgiving and loving like Him. Amen (Fred G. Mislang SVD, More thoughts from a Friend, Laguna: Verbum-SVD House of Studies, 2010:8-10)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THURSDAY OF THE 25TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 9:7-9. UNSA MAY KAHIMTANG SA ATONG TANLAG – MALINAWON UG MALIPAYON BA, O GUBOT UG MAHADLOKON BA HINOON? Ang ebanghelyo nagsaysay sa usa ka hari nga gihasol sa iyang tanlag. Si Herodes maoy nagpapatay kang Juan nga Magbubunyag, ang tawo nga ningbarog sa kamatuoran ug nagsaway sa iyang relasyon kang Herodias nga asawa sa iyang igsoon. Ang tanang matang sa sala – pagpatay, pagpanapaw, pagpanikas, pagpangawat, ug uban pa – makabalisa sa konsensya. Kon dili nato kini basolan o ikumpisal sa pari, dili mahapsay ang atong kinabuhi. Adunay panultihon nga nag-ingon, “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.” Kon limpyo ang atong tanlag, ang atong pamati maayo. Molakaw kita nga walay kahadlokan, mokaon kita nga ganado, ug matulog kita nga malinawon kaayo. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/09/thursday-of-25th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Thursday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Eccl 1: 2-11; Luke 9: 7-9

Guilty Conscience

Jesus had then become a sensation and influential personality and everybody was amazed at his teachings, healing power and miracles. The news about him reached King Herod as well, who was puzzled and perplexed, as was his father who massacred the innocent infants when he heard of the birth of Jesus.  He was disturbed and distressed at what he heard from people because some claimed Jesus as the risen John, others as the reappearance of Elijah or one of the old prophets. What frightened Herod most was the rebirth of John the Baptist whom he had killed unjustly and was afraid if John had come to haunt him.  He also lived in constant fear and guilt that he had massacred and looted the properties of his own subjects and lived in opulence while his people lived in great misery, colluding with the occupying Romans and conveniently accommodating his religious practices to suit his own selfish ends. His personality may be described in terms of vanity in Ecclesiastes which means emptiness, nothingness, appearance or air.

Herod’s conscience stirred him and would never leave him. Men can silence their conscience when they do not listen to it but cannot destroy it. A guilty conscience lives in perpetual fear and anxiety. On the contrary, when we have a clear and right conscience we enjoy peace, serenity and harmony in our life. Herod wanted to meet Jesus not because he was interested in his message and to embark upon a renewed life but because he wanted to clear his doubt and to get rid of his fear and guilt.  Jesus was aware of his intention and refused neither to oblige the king nor to change his message to suit the king.

“Conscience does make coward of us all,” thus goes the saying. The guilt of the innocent blood was haunting Herod. Everyone carries the burden of sin until it is forgiven. When we have a guilty conscience, we might try to hide things from others and from ourselves; we might live in denial, but with the constant fear of being found out. It is like the humorous story of the chicken thief in a village. To find out the thief the parish priest tricked thief by announcing to the church assembly during his sermon: “Look! Here is one man with a feather in his hair!”.  The chicken thief automatically raised his hand to search one in his head since he was the thief and was identified.

When we are in bad conscience, it is good to desire to meet Jesus, but not for mere curiosity or formality or to satisfy the demands of the society or community but to admit our sins and seek forgiveness and personal conversion. Dr. Fr. John Ollukaran CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-09-22

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September 22, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s first reading is an excerpt from Ecclesiastes, also known as Qoheleth.

Until Qoheleth was written (about 300 years before Christ), everyone in Israel agreed on three dogmas: there is no positive afterlife (everybody ends up in the dark Sheol), God is just, God rewards and punishes people in this life according to their deserts. The Book of Job is the only book which disputes this, because Job is a good man who suffers terribly. However, the ending of the book (Job is given back twice of what he had lost) aligns it with the traditional doctrine of divine retribution in this life. And so, Qoheleth is the only author of the Old Testament who is honest and realist enough to say that people do not always get what they deserve. As he says: “I have seen all manner of things in my vain days: a just man perishing in his justice, and a wicked man surviving in his wickedness (Qo 7:15; see also 8:14; 9:2-3, 11).

Things have not changed since the time of Qoheleth: good people still suffer bad things, bad people are the unworthy beneficiaries of good things. God’s justice will be meted out only after this life, not during it.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3651-september-22-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 25th Week of the Year

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