25th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Eccl 1:2-11
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays. The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it presses on to the place where it rises. Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north, the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds. All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going. All speech is labored; there is nothing one can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear satisfied with hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us. There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.
Gospel: 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.
BUT WHO IS THIS? Herod heard about the works and teachings of Jesus and also heard what people thought about him; an important personality. And so, he wanted to see him. It’s possible that Herod might have wanted to see Jesus for social reasons; to meet the influential personality that has arisen whom people link with the great men of old. It would be an honour to meet him and to identify himself in a special way with him. On the other hand, hearing that people associated him with John the Baptist whom he beheaded could have struck a chord. Reminding us that the voice of conscience is always with us even when we try to silence it through denial or pretense. The Gospel raises some questions; why do we seek the Lord? What is God saying to us in the depths of our hearts? Is there something we need to sort out?
Prayer – Lord help us to seek you with sincere and contrite hearts. Come into our hearts and make us your friends (cf. John 15:15).
UNITED IN THE SUFFERING OF CHRIST: Herod, after hearing all what was happening, was bothered. He could not understand who this person was. He had beheaded John and now could not understand this other person: could he be John or another? Due to this, he started seeking to see Jesus. He was threatened by the teachings of Jesus. Having killed John, would he be afraid to kill Jesus? As Christians, we are faced with challenges in the Gospel mission. One of the core challenges is persecution. As we celebrate the memorial in honour of St. Padre Pio, let us be courageous like he was, enduring humiliation from the stigmata. Following Christ means to share in His sufferings.