In today’s gospel, Mark draws us in to feel King Herod’s fear when he learns of the miracles being performed by a man named Jesus and hears the crowd saying that this miracle-worker is John the Baptist risen from the dead. Herod was afraid. And he had reason to be afraid.
King Herod had violated Jewish law by marrying his brother’s wife and ordered the beheading of John the Baptizer, who had reminded him of his sin. Actually, Herod had liked John. He had listened to him but was perplexed by his message. He believed that John was a righteous and holy man. However, when called upon to break a human oath or execute this holy man, Herod chose the latter. Now he thinks that maybe John really has risen from the dead.
Herod had two opportunities to encounter Jesus and benefit from his ministry if he had asked who Jesus was and what He could do for him. People who asked these questions experienced new life. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers cleansed, the mute spoke, even the dead came back to life, and the poor, or the little ones, had Good News brought to them.
The stories of Jesus’s encounters with humans continue even after His death. When St. Agatha, whose feast we celebrate today, was pursued by suitors from nobility, she maintained her commitment to virginity, served Jesus in the purity of body, and died for the love of chastity. St. Agatha is invoked by sufferers from diseases of the breast because her breast was ordered to be torn with iron shears. She is also a protector, against fire, because of the mode of her martyrdom.
Through the ages, people who genuinely asked who Jesus was and what Jesus could do for them, experienced His amazing power. What should we ask Jesus to do for us today?
- Father Jilson's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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