As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. -- Albert Einstein: (1879 – 1955: was a German-born theoretical physicist.)
Gospel Text: (LK 9:7-9)
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
In today's Gospel reading, Herod is described as "very curious" to see Jesus. By now, he's heard a lot about this miracle worker from Nazareth. He knows that there's something special about him. Herod was like the people who flock to healing services today looking for miracles but not for Jesus. When he finally met Jesus personally, the encounter did not change him. Why not?
The answer is in the first reading from Mass today (ECCL 1:2-11). Everything that is not of heaven is only temporary. When we focus on what is temporal, when we base our values on worldly standards, and when we strive only for a more comfortable, easy life here on earth, we cannot see who Jesus really is, we cannot understand his teachings, and the cross seems like nothing more than an instrument of torture and destruction.
We are all creatures of curiosity. We get excited over miracles, and new discoveries fascinate us, but if they don't enhance our relationship with Christ, they only benefit our lives for a short time. Spiritual discoveries benefit us forever. Herod did not want to know Jesus where it mattered, in his spirit. He did not want God's touch to change him. When we don't let Jesus change us - when we don't give him the freedom to affect whatever in our lives is temporal - sadly our accomplishments ultimately will amount to dust.