The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 9:7-9.

After murdering Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist, and hearing about the many miracles of Christ Jesus, Herod the Tetrarch is full of anxiety and wonders if John has reincarnated in Jesus. Of course, there is no such thing as reincarnation; Herod, enslaved in evil, is swayed by every anxiety, unable to receive the peace and joy of Christ because of unbelief.

John was a powerful prophet of miraculous birth who lived an austere and rugged life in the desert. John courageously came to Herod and condemned Herod’s marriage to brother’s wife, Herodias, as unlawful. Herod was intrigued by John, but locked John up to silence him. Herod was a vile and corrupt character: he had an adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife (who was also Herod’s niece); he, perhaps fueled by gluttonous consumption of wine, pridefully made oaths as he lusted over his grand-niece; cowardly, unwilling to break his lust oath, he beheads the innocent John the Baptist. Grotesquely, he had John the Baptist’s head brought on a platter to his birthday feast. Herod is an anti-Christ.

The evil Herod, searching in vain for peace but mired in sin, was first intrigued by John the Baptist and now is obsessed with Christ.  St. Augustine’s words resonate: “Our hearts are restless until we rest in You.” The pathetic and murderous Herod, unwilling to renounce evil, is destined to suffer in eternal agony.

Awed by Jesus Christ – The Son of God, Christ’s miracles are recognized by one of the greatest men, John the Baptist, and even by His enemies. Divine King, Christ is unmoved by the desires of the trivial King Herod to see Him.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at how Christ strikes fear in powerful men. Consider how the evil Herod, the Greater (He was so afraid of Christ he caused the “Slaughter of the Innocents”), Herod’s evil son, Herod the Tetrarch, were driven to anxiety and murderous rampage by Christ.

2) Like Herod the Tetrarch, men’s minds are dulled by drink, food, entertainment and sex. But also like Herod, a man’s sins gnaws on him; God has given men a conscience, an inherent understanding of good and evil. Review the Catechism’s teaching on Moral Conscience (CCC 1776-1789) and pray for Christ to enlighten your moral conscience to always seek to do His Will in all things.

3) Herod the Tetrarch, evil as he is, “kept trying to see Him [Christ]”, many Catholic men don’t realize they can see Christ in Adoration. Reflect on the Adoration of Christ (CCC 2096, 2628) and make it a priority to go and “see Him” in Adoration this week; pray for Our King to allow you to draw close to Him.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently