The Good Word for Sunday March 20th ~ for the complete readings click here.
I like magic. I pretend like I don’t, as if I’m too cool for it and am not totally amazed. I often pretend to know just how the illusionist is performing his illusions, but I don’t. I know it is a total nerd thing to admit to liking magic, but when the climax of the card trick or the illusion finally happens, I am usually left astonished. I don’t look for magic shows to watch, but I’ve been known to stop and watch a show if I happen upon one while flipping through channels.
In the gospel this weekend, Jesus suffers, is crucified, and dies. It is the story of what God was willing to do to win us back to him. At one point in the story, it says, “Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.”
Why was Herod glad to see Jesus? It says that Herod was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign. I think Herod is hoping to see some magic. Not illusions or tricks, but spiritual acts with real power. Herod doesn’t care for good to be done or for God to be glorified. Herod wants to be entertained by Jesus.
Herod questions Jesus for sometime, but apparently not getting the answers he wants, Herod mocks Jesus and sends him back to Pilate. Herod isn’t interested in finding out who Jesus is; Herod is interested in see what Jesus does. Herod cares about his own power and pleasure and only cares about what Jesus can do for him.
Sometimes, we run the risk of treating Jesus and Church like Herod does in the gospel. Sometimes we want Church to entertain us, not change us. Sometimes, we are only glad to see Jesus because we think we are going to see some signs and wonders. Sometimes we are more interested in what Jesus can do for us than who Jesus is. Sometimes, we are only interested in the idea of Jesus, instead of having an authentic relationship with him.
How do we avoid being Herod in our relationship with Jesus? Put Jesus in charge. Herod expects Jesus to do whatever he wants. Herod is looking for Jesus to serve him. If we want to have an authentic relationship with Jesus, we have to put and keep Jesus in charge.
A good way to keep Jesus in charge is to dedicate some prayer time to silence. Take 5-10 minutes (or just 2 minutes if you can’t imagine being silent for longer than that), and sit in silence each day for the next week. Let God fill the silence of your prayer.