A Dominican Sister reflects on the Gospel: Luke 9:7-9
In preparing my reflections I read the gospel in a couple of different translations. In one translation there were some very helpful footnotes. Always read the footnotes!
In Luke’s gospel Herod appears three times. He pops up at decisive moments in the life of Jesus and then he disappears just as quickly. We see him in chapter 3, in chapter 9, today’s gospel, and in chapter 23. I looked at each of Herod’s appearances and at what was happening just before he arrives on the scene and what happens immediately after he leaves.
In chapter 3 just before Herod shows up, John the Baptist says that he is not the Christ but that the Christ is coming soon. Then we hear that Herod has John put in prison. Herod disappears and Jesus begins his ministry.
In today’s gospel from chapter 9 before Herod appears, Jesus sends the apostles out on mission to do what he has done: heal, reconcile, and liberate the people. Then Herod pops up. People are saying that Jesus is John the Baptist come back to life. Herod says, “ I killed John. This is not John.” And Herod becomes anxious to see Jesus. Herod disappears and the apostles come back from their mission. They have been successful. Jesus’ ministry will continue through his disciples.
In Chapter 23 Jesus has been arrested and brought before Pilate who sends Jesus to Herod. Herod is delighted. He has waited a long time for this. He asks Jesus to work a miracle for him but Jesus says nothing. Herod is incensed that Jesus will not entertain him and so Jesus is treated with contempt and sent back to Pilate to be crucified.
In looking at all of this I see Herod as the antithesis of Jesus.
Herod kills – Jesus gives life
Herod wants answers – Jesus asks questions about the meaning of life.
Herod wants to be entertained – Jesus wants everyone to know the love of God
As followers of Jesus, our life’s work is to do what Jesus did and say what Jesus said: to heal, to reconcile, to liberate. Today let us pray that we will faithfully follow in Jesus’ footsteps and that we, like the apostles, will continue the ministry of Jesus.
Mary Keefe, OP