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.