In the Holy Scriptures, angels are often depicted as messengers from the divine, with only three specific angels being named: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
My dear sisters and brothers, today in Luke's Gospel we hear about Herod the Tetrarch. After the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, the ancient Kingdom was divided into four parts with each part under the rule of a member of the Herodian family. A “Tetrarch” was a “ruler of a quarter” of the kingdom of Israel. Herod Antipas was the ruler of the region of Galilee and Perea during the time of Jesus and is the subject of the story we have just heard in the Gospel. Herod the Tetrarch is the one who beheaded John the Baptist.
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Try this thought experiment: imagine a family member or friend asks you to consider something outside your comfort zone, something good but challenging. Are you open to listening to their idea? Now, what about a stranger or maybe someone you know but don’t trust…are you open to listening to them? And, finally, which category do we put Jesus in?
Today, we commemorate several events central to our salvation on this Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The first is the finding of the true cross by Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helen; next, there is the dedication of the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 355 and, most significantly, Jesus’ victory over death by His crucifixion and resurrection. Locally, it is the patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Boston, and closer to home, my parent's wedding anniversary.
If we were teaching children about today’s Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Mother, we might include a birthday cake with white and blue frosting, sing Happy Birthday to her, and even have them make birthday cards to connect the Blessed Mother’s birth with a cause for celebration and how God chose her to become the mother of Jesus.
Peter, a humble fisherman, experienced a profound encounter with the Divine that speaks to our daily experiences and struggles. Just imagine, after a night of tireless effort, Peter and his companions found their nets bursting with an abundance of fish. Their hopes must have soared as they anticipated the ease of selling such a catch. It's natural for us to think, "If Jesus could do it once, why not invite Him as a business partner for a joint venture?" Yet, Luke's Gospel surprises us.