King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
While meditating on today’s Gospel, I think I have finally come to understand the personalities of the “Herods”.
King Herod the Great and his son, Herod Antipas, came from a long chain of weak men with bigger than life egos! Filled with jealousy and envy, these men were constantly seeking the approval of the masses and would do anything to get it. If you ever want to know if someone is jealous of you, then take a good look and see how they behave in front of you.
Jealous people have a tendency to act crazy. Their moods or reactions (laughter, sadness, anger, fear) are larger than life. And when they are both rich and jealous, it means they can do even crazier things. They have to! How else will they turn heads and get people’s attention? Wealth is nothing new. Bizarre behavior is nothing new. They are a symptom of something very old. That’s why John the Baptist and Jesus are something very new.
John the Baptist rubbed Herod Antipas the wrong way! The saints know fallen human nature very well, and know how to point out someone’s defects. St. Mark tells us that Herod Antipas “heard” about John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, and how their “fame” quickly became widespread. Oh, oh. Watch out! This isn’t good for someone who tends to get easily jealous! And yet, with all the King’s wealth and power, he remained speechless and powerless against these meek and humble men. All the might, power and money in the world could not buy the love, respect and prestige he desired. He would go without them throughout his life. So, he resorted to brutality, just like his father. But unlike his father, he managed to execute John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. This is his lasting legacy. You would think that we would learn by now what makes people happy and sad, fulfilled and empty, successful and a failure.
I think that rich people are the most blessed people in the world, for they seem to be the first in failing to find happiness in all the world’s courts. They have all that it takes to figure it out before any of us do, and that is a great blessing! They can truly be the first to testify before heaven and earth that the world’s lies are truly that: LIES.
What are these lies? 1st big lie: The more you have, the wealthier you are. 2nd big lie: The bigger the home, the happier the family. 3rd big lie: The more stylish you are, the more attractive you are. 4th big lie: The more successful you are, the more friends you have. 5th big lie: The more you party, the more fulfilled you become.
How will I live my life? Will I be jealous of those who have or will I be jealous of those who give? King Herod got John’s head by losing his own. And in the end, he lost it all.
“Blessed are those who have kept the word with a generous heart, and yield a harvest through perseverance!”