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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9, 7-9

Meanwhile Herod the tetrarch had heard about all that was going on; and he was puzzled, because some people were saying that John had risen from the dead,

others that Elijah had reappeared, still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life.

But Herod said, 'John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?' And he was anxious to see him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Between the mission of the twelve and their joyous return, Luke, following Mark the evangelist, inserts the passage which reports Herod’s wish to see Jesus. The teaching, the miracles and the missionary activity of the Twelve had made the crowd enthusiastic. The fame of that Teacher had reached even Herod Antipas’ court. The discordance regarding what was being said about Jesus caused unease and perplexity in the tetrarch. There were those who said that the young Rabbi was John the Baptist resurrected, others thought he was Elijah reappeared. Herod, in this psychological tension stemming from anxiety and fear, in any case sought to meet him. Obviously, Herod did not share the opinion of those who thought he was the Baptist. Luke summarizes Herod’s doubt like this: "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And, therefore, "he tried to see him." But it is not the desire of one who wants to listen and understand that new prophecy which touched people’s heart. The moment will in any case come in which Herod will meet that young prophet, but it will be the day of the trial when Pilate decides to send Jesus to him as a prisoner. Herod’s wish to meet Jesus is not like that of Zacchaeus who went up a tree, or like that of the two Greeks who went to Philip and Andrew. These wanted to understand and comprehend the word and activity of that young prophet and went to him. Herod on the other hand expected Jesus to go to him. But one does not find the Lord unless one "comes out" of oneself, of one’s own pride, of one’s own psychological labyrinth. The encounter with Jesus is more direct and also simpler, as so many Gospel episodes demonstrate: it is enough to go to him with a well-disposed heart, and it is also enough to merely touch the hem of his cloak. But with faith, with availability. Herod was merely curious without any intention of changing his life. Without the disposition of the heart, it is not possible to find Jesus.

Memory of the Church