25th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

In today’s Gospel it’s fascinating that Herod, one of the most powerful men in Palestine, does not have a clear idea of who Jesus is and seems unable to meet him. It’s safe to say, considering what happened between him and St. John the Baptist, that this inability is self-inflicted. He’s not willing to do what it takes to know and encounter Our Lord.

Sin is a lack of communion with God; it makes him unintelligible and it takes us somewhere where he can’t go. Certain lifestyles isolate us from God, and we have to take the steps necessary to restore communion with him, to approach him once again, to try and understand him once again. Somewhere deep in Herod he knew that if he really wanted to find out about Our Lord, and see him, something in him had to change, and he wasn’t willing to do it. It’s funny that people see a virtuous life sometimes as putting a leash on your lifestyle, but a sinful life does worse: it convinces you that by accepting a leash–some vice, some destructive pleasure, some little concession to your principles–you’ll be freer. Eventually you don’t try to go beyond the limits imposed on you by the leash because, deep down, you know it’s there and don’t believe it’s possible to cast off that leash again and recover true freedom.

Herod stayed on his leash; he didn’t try to test its limits in order to get closer to Our Lord. Let’s ask Our Lord to help us cast off those “leashes” that separate us from him. He’ll help us cast off the leash and be truly free again.

Readings: Haggai 1:1–8; Psalm 149:1b–6a, 9b; Luke 9:7–9. See also Passion of St. John the Baptist and 17th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.