In the first reading the post-exilic prophet Haggai speaks about the rebuilding of the nation, beginning with the rebuilding of the Temple, where God dwells. Their growth and development as a nation will depend upon their faithfulness to their covenant with Yahweh. From the destruction of their Temple and nation and the shame, defeat and desolation of exile, God’s chosen people hoped to rise again. Has the exile formed a chastened and renewed people?
In the Gospel reading King Herod wonders who this Jesus miracle-worker is: one of the prophets come back to life, Elijah-come-back, or John the Baptist raised to life? Though Herod respected John as “an upright and holy man” and “liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed whenever he heard him (Mk 6: 20), he had John beheaded at the request of the daughter of Herodias his consort.
We know that Herod wanted to meet Jesus. He finally met him when Pilate sent Jesus to him at his trial. But he got no reply from Jesus. (Lk 23: 6 -12)
Like Herod, we are asked the same question? Who is this Jesus of Nazareth? And, more important, what is he to us now? When Jesus asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” What is our answer?