After the death of Herod the Great, the kingdom of Israel was divided between his three sons: Herod Archelaus as ethnarch, Herod Antipater [nicknamed Antipas] and Philip as tetrarch (ruler of a quarter), with Herod’s daughter, Salome I, as toparch (small district ruler) of Jamnia. Herod Antipas was jealous of Archelaus, who was given by Caesar Augustus charge as provincial governor of a great section that included Judea, Samaria, and Idumea.
When Archelaus became unpopular among the Jews and was deposed and banished to Gaul in the year 6 AD, Herod Antipas sought to ingratiate himself with the Roman authorities by building projects at Sepphoris and Beth-Aram and more importantly constructing his capital at Tiberias, named after the Emperor Tiberius. In his desire to take the title “King Herod” and consolidate his claim to the throne, he married the former wife of his half-brother Philip. John the Baptist denounced such marriage as incestuous (cf Mk 6:18), and for this he was beheaded.
The specter of the Baptist’s beheading so haunts Herod Antipas that he fears John has returned to life in Jesus. Herod will finally see Jesus face-to-face when Pilate will send Jesus to Herod Antipas knowing him to be a Galilean (cf Lk 23:6-12). Still, Jesus’ identity will remain an enigma because He will not perform any miracles for Herod. Jesus, “the real king of the universe,” will confront Antipas, the presumptuous “king.” Antipas will never become king; in fact, he will die in exile. In the end, as the Preacher says, “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit have we from all the toil which we toil at under the sun?” (Eccl 1:2-3).
Gospel • LUKE 9:7-9
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.
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.