Father Barry O’Toole, LC
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, "John
has been raised from the dead"; others were saying,
"Elijah has appeared"; still others, "One of the ancient
prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such
things?" And he kept trying to see him.
As I enter your presence today, Lord, I know
that I am not worthy to be with you. “But
you alone, Lord, have the words of eternal life
and I believe; I have come to know that you
are the Holy One of God.” I kneel before
you in contrition, adoration and hope in your mercy.
Petition: Help me, Lord, to be converted to
you more fully.
1. Our Daily Conversion to God: Herod’s
desire to see Jesus is not precisely based on
faith or on motives of conversion. During the entire
time of his imprisonment, John the Baptist had constantly
invited Herod to conversion. “Herod was in awe of John,
knowing him to be a good and upright man,
and gave him his protection. When he had heard
him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked
to listen to him” (Mark 6:20). Yet Herod continually
postponed converting. We need to convert daily. It isn’t enough
just to say that we have accepted Jesus as
our personal lord and savior and have been “born
again,” we have to start living that new life, renewing
our option for Christ each day. Today I want
to convert from my weaknesses and shortcomings. I want
to draw closer to you, Lord.
2. What Is the
Truth? There comes a moment in life when we
have to look in the mirror and see ourselves as
we truly are. It takes courage to look directly
and ask, “Who are you really? What are you
making of yourself and the talents God has given you?
What is the truth?” Now, not everything in Herod’s
life is relative; there is one truth he does accept:
“John I beheaded.” This could have been the point
of departure for true conversion and acceptance of God’s
mercy in his life. He at least recognized he
had made one mistake. All that he was hearing about
Jesus made his conscience uneasy. He was afraid that
his sin was coming back to haunt him. Conversion
always begins with the acceptance of our failures and inclination
to evil. It is said that St. Philip Neri
used to look at himself in the mirror in the
morning and say: “Lord, watch out for Philip today
lest again he betray you.”
3. Blessed Are the Pure of
Heart… Jesus himself taught us in the Beatitudes: “Blessed
are the pure of heart for they shall see
God.” Explaining this beatitude a little more in detail St.
Gregory of Nyssa says: “The man who sees God
possesses in this act of seeing all there is
of the things that are good. By this we understand
life without end, eternal incorruption and undying beatitude. With
these we shall enjoy the everlasting kingdom of unceasing
happiness; we shall see the true light and hear the
sweet voice of the Spirit; we shall exult perpetually
in all that is good in the inaccessible glory.”
Seeing and possessing God is the result of our
daily conversion. It is the promise of peace of
heart, true happiness and everlasting life. It is the fullness
of everything man can desire in this life and
in the life to come. It is the very
meaning of our existence. What more could we ask for?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I truly long
to see your face. Do not hide your face
from me. Help me to accept myself as I
truly am and strive to overcome my weaknesses and my
inclination to sin. Help me purify my heart so
that I might see you in my everyday life and
possess you forever in the life to come.
Resolution: I will seek true conversion today by
reciting a sincere Act of Contrition and trying to attend
Mass or at least make a visit to Christ
in the Eucharist.