You know, I think Herod was asking the right question. Sure, he was asking it for all the wrong reasons, but still, it is the right question. And that question is, “Who is Jesus?”
What Herod was hearing about Jesus is pretty much what the disciples told Jesus when Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” Elijah, or one of the prophets, or maybe even John the Baptist. But Herod was the one who killed John so he knew that couldn’t be it, so who is he really? Herod kept trying to see him, and of course, he’d have more than ample opportunity soon enough, after Jesus is arrested.
So we have the question too. Oh, we know well enough – intellectually – who Jesus is, but we still have to answer that question in our hearts. Who is Jesus for us? We know he is not just some prophet, that he is not like anyone who lived before or after him. But have we lost the virtue of Herod? Have we stopped being intrigued by the question, have we lost our fascination with Jesus? Herod kept trying to see Jesus, and it’s the right instinct. We have to keep trying to see him too, whether that takes us to a rereading of the Gospels or to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or to contemplative prayer. Whatever the case, fascination with Jesus is the right way to go, and we have to let ourselves be intrigued by the question again. Who is Jesus for us?