Herod and the Germans

Who is this, about whom I hear that his apostles heal the sick and announce the kingdom of God?

So wondered Herod the tetrarch, when the Church militant began to march. Herod became the first secular ruler under whose jurisdiction Christ’s apostles operated. Countless more such rulers have followed.

Herod feared the moral truth. He ruled Galilee and Perea with some skill. But he knew that he had been a faithless husband to his first wife. He had schemed maliciously against his brothers.

In other words, he was a bad Jew, a ‘lapsed’ Jew. He was depraved. But he was not so far gone that he did not know he was depraved. He hated the truth which accused him of his faults, but at the same time he longed to see the holy man.

Today our Holy Father arrived for a visit to his native Germany. In his first speech, he said, “I am here to speak of God.” Crowds of his countrymen welcomed the Pope. A few others protested his public presence.

Like St. Peter before him, Pope Benedict proposes the Gospel. Therefore, he both repels and attracts. Living in the truth poses challenges and difficulties. Often we sinners fail to measure up to reasonable rules of conduct.

It can be very tempting to blame the messenger. But when someone invites me to the truth, I have a difficult time getting that message out of my head.

One thought on “Herod and the Germans

  1. Father Mark,

    C. S. Lewis, has argued that Nazi Germany’s “justification” of its actions were proof of the notion that Conscience just was, from the beginning; it was not formed, nor trained.

    The Wikipedia article on Evil ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil ) is worth a look.

    In short, just as “the rain falls on both the good and the bad,” so, too, do all men know good from evil. If they are acting uprightly, they rejoice in their righteousness (probably in error, as Christ pointed out to them); and if they are acting evily, they either try to hide their actions in shame or they trumpet their actions with worm-worded justifications.

    Similarly, they both (the good and the evil) are drawn to the eternal Good, the former to support it, the latter to destroy it. So, we might well expect to find both “greeting” the Pope in his visit to Germany.

    I’m reading John White’s “The Fight” right now. He too would have greeted the greeters with, “I’m here to speak of God” [Ich bin hier, von Gott zu sprechen, um]. But, it would have been to one person, whom he’d identified. Then, he would have told him of his experience with that God. The Pope doesn’t seem to have such a luxury; he’s evangelizing an entire nation at once.

    I’d suggest: http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Pope+Benedict+XVI+visits+Germany/G2749 and
    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1103762.htm as background.

    Then, I’d suggest that we all pray for the right words to tell the truth when the moment arises, and to evangelize whenever the opportunity presents itself.



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