Today’s Gospel ends with the words ‘And he (Herod) was anxious to see Jesus’. In the past ten days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth, thousands of people lined the streets to see the late Queen. Many waited hours to pay their respects to the Queen as she lay in state, and millions watched the funeral service in person or through social media. The urge to “see for ourselves” is the human desire to be sure, especially for those who trust less easily. Mere curiosity often drives this need to see for ourselves, but so does commitment. Thousands will line the streets of Melbourne before the AFL Grand Final to cheer on their teams. Other important occasions also inspire us to be part of the experience.
Herod’s anxiety might prompt us today to question our own interest in seeking out Jesus, whether that be through a commitment to seeing Jesus in others, in searching for something to nourish our faith, or in finding a quiet time to connect in prayer. If we let our curiosity wane, we also risk our faith reverting to a mediocre commitment. It might pay us to be anxious to see Jesus as well, to allow ourselves to be fascinated again by all our faith offers. The demonstrations of gratitude and commitment to the late Monarch can spur us on to question our own gratitude and dedication to our faith.
Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.