28 September
Lk 9:7-9

Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. Herod said, ‘John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he tried to see him.

Jesus has come to the notice of the highest authorities.  Herod is trying to get a handle on who he is.  He is listening to the rumours – that he is John the Baptist come back to life.  John was Herod's bad conscience; that's why he appeared to be always coming back: guilt doesn't let you rest in peace for long.  Herod's presence at this point in the Gospel is an ominous one, and even more ominous is his curiosity about Jesus; one is better off without the curiosity of such people.  It is an empty curiosity, strongly contrasted with the interest that real disciples have in him (compare it, for example, with Peter’s in 9:20). 

Mention of Herod's name is enough to introduce the notion of suffering and the Cross.  These three verses (today's reading) are fitted in between the sending out of the Twelve and their return; they set the theme: suffering and death will be the lot of Jesus' disciples, just as it is the lot of Jesus himself – and of John before him.  When Christians get bad press it is mostly because of our failures; but even when it isn’t, we shouldn’t be so surprised – we can't say we weren’t warned.  


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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