Herod's threat indicates Jesus is really doing his duty. I would wonder, however, if we are also doing ours ...
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
The warning addressed to Jesus that we find in today’s Gospel helps us to highlight something important: Jesus’ mission didn’t only take place surrounded by collective applause; it also aroused the annoyance of many others who resented his message.
We would almost be inclined to say that if the proclamation of the Gospel didn’t impact anyone, it would be a sign that the proclamation had distanced itself from the Gospel.
If, for example, the form of Christianity lived in a big city didn’t force the indifferent bourgeoisie to come to terms with the people who suffer on the peripheries then it wouldn’t be doing much good. If the Gospel proclaimed in a land where the Mafia reigns didn’t disturb the mobsters, then that Gospel wouldn’t really be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the message of Jesus didn’t perturb a certain corrupt way of doing politics, then that message would be just another way the dominant culture expresses itself and gives commands, even through religious forms of speech.
In short, it’s good news that Herod is threatening the Lord, because this attests to the fact that Jesus is really doing his duty.
I would wonder, however, if we are also doing ours, or if we are content merely to defend our own place in the world and in society. The victory of Christianity does not coincide with cultural hegemony, but with the prophetic power to remain a goad for all hegemonies and all powers and mentalities in the world. Herod’s consent cannot be what is sought, but only his conversion.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.