In today’s reading, Herod responds to Jesus with anger, fear, and violence. He is furious because he believes the Magi deceived him. Fearful that Jesus will become a great king and take over his power and position, Herod tries to kill Jesus by ordering the massacre of boys two years old and under. Caring only for himself, Herod caused pain and suffering to many people. Unfortunately, even today selfishness and fearful people in our world hurt and kill others – even innocent children – in an attempt to maintain positions of authority and power.

We may think that we are not like Herod, but although our actions may not be as dramatic as his, we may have similar motivations. Often I ask myself how I respond to Jesus when I encounter him in and through others. If I am allowing God’s love to work in me, I respond with love, hope, and forgiveness. If I am concerned about myself or my position, I sometimes respond with anger, fear, or even violent words.

Some questions I ask myself:

  How do I respond when family members or co-workers upset me?

  Am I tempted to be angry with them and talk about them behind their backs or do I work at forgiveness and reconciliation?

   When a co-worker receives a promotion or an award do I respond with joy or jealousy for the person?

   When I encounter a homeless or needy person, do I take time for him or her?

As we continue to celebrate the birth of Christ, let us take a moment to pray for the grace to respond to everyone we encounter with love, hope, and forgiveness.

—Brother John Moriconi, S.J., a noted mandolinist, is provincial’s secretary for the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.