Thursday, September 22, 2005

Being the Messenger

By Mitchell

Today's Gospel reading presents what appears to be a curious story: Herod and his curiosity about Jesus. At first there doesn't seem to be much to it, just three verses. Jesus doesn't even appear in the passage. Upon closer examination, however, Fr. Pavlik's homily shows this to be the perfect compliment to yesterday's reflections on St. Matthew.

"Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” Herod asks. Yes, the pull is there, the heart that wants to know more about Him, even in Herod, one of the more despicable characters in the New Testament. "And he kept trying to see him," the passage concludes. Of course, he does eventually see Jesus, under rather strained circumstances, but Jesus remains silent during their meeting, and Herod will die without ever hearing His words.

How many are there today who, like Herod, long to hear His words? How many are drawn to Him and yet do not know Him? Bishop Sheen used to say that the longing for Jesus is something with which we are born, and the satisfaction of that longing is what we strive for throughout our lives.

And who, Fr. Pavlik asks, is going to bring Jesus to these people? That's right - you and me. We are the messengers of the Gospel, the good news which He sought to bring to all people. We were chosen to hear that message, and we are chosen to bring it to the world. Some people will hear the message and ignore it, others will accept it at first but later fall away. But for some, the Word will change their lives, will satisfy that inner longing. We're not meant to handicap the field, we're called to offer it to all.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are different ways of doing it, some more obvious, some more subtle. But good news is meant to be shared, and the joy that news brings makes it almost impossible for someone to keep it hidden. We instinctively want to tell someone about it, to convey a sense of the excitement it gives us, and that joy often becomes contagious.

So, in the end, it's up to us. Have no fear, for Our Lord and the saints will work through us, and the Holy Spirit will guide us. We merely need to be the medium through which the message comes. For somewhere out there is another Herod, wondering who this Man is, trying to see Him. Which one of us will be the one to make the introductions?

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