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. (Luke 9:7-9)
When reports of Jesus’ miracles and teaching reach Herod’s court, Herod became very troubled in conscience. He thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead! Herod sought to meet Jesus more out of curiosity and fear than out of a sincere desire to know God’s will.
That, of course, never happened. The reason and desire to talk with Jesus came from the wrong place. There was no desire to build a relationship with the living Christ. There needs to be a true relationship, a union, with the Lord, a hunger for mutual indwelling, something that Herod never had.
To know Jesus, to dialogue with Jesus means communicating with him at three different levels – the language of the mind, the heart and of action.
Through the language of the mind, we get to know Jesus through the Bible and the writings of theologians and spiritual writers. That is where we get to understand Jesus more deeply. But that’s not enough.
There is also the language of the heart, in which we speak to Jesus in loving prayer and allow him to speak to us in the core of who we are.
And then there’s the language of action in which the love of Jesus within us overflows into our love of others.
When we are “speaking” with Jesus on those three levels, we find ourselves shedding the weight of three bags that that affect us and hold us down and hold us back from enjoying the fullness of the love that God has for us. Those are the bags of our hurts, our fears and our false dreams.
None of us can move through life without being hurt in one way or another. Someone treats us with disrespect, dishonesty or even violence. A person we trust betrays us. Even after we remove ourselves from the circumstances in which the hurt occurs, the scars from that hurt can still follow us. They become heavy baggage that we carry from one place to the other. Jesus asks us to leave behind the baggage of our hurts.
Fear is not a bad thing. Fear serves a positive purpose of identifying and preparing us for danger. But, once we have done all that we can have to prepare, fear loses its value. Holding on to fear can turn into a continual worry that undermines us and paralyzes us. Fear says, “The worst is going to happen. It is not going to work out. Things will certainly fall apart.” Such fear allows us to do very little. Jesus asks us to leave the bag of our fears behind.
Usually, we think of dreams in a positive sense. They can be so when they motivate us and inspire us. But there are some dreams that are really impossible, and these dreams hurt us. They are dreams we want but have very little chance of achieving. Some goals are illusionary. Some people will not change. Some circumstances will not improve. When we insist on holding on to such false dreams, they become like a heavy cargo trunk that weighs us down. It robs us of our rest. It robs us of our joy, because we are always chiding ourselves for doing what cannot be done. Jesus wants us to leave the trunk of false dreams behind.
In yesterday’s scripture, we heard Jesus telling his apostles to travel lightly and to be dependent on their relationship with him to get through each day. He asks us the same thing. To enter into the fullness of his love and to be able to dialogue with him we need to move away from negativity in any form. We need to understand that our relationship with Jesus can lead us to a life that is full of hope, love and promise.
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed. Increase my eagerness to do your will and help me to grow in the knowledge of your love and truth.”
How can we find true peace with ourselves and with God? The Lord Jesus shows us the way. Jesus explained to his followers, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Only Jesus can set us free. If we listen to his voice and obey his word, we will find true peace, joy, and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God.