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.
9:7 Herod the tetrarch: Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea from 4/1 b.c. to a.d. 39. John had been raised: Luke does not recount John’s execution but last mentions him in Herod’s prison (3:20). His martyrdom is narrated in Mt 14:1–12 and Mk 6:14–29.
9:9 he sought to see him: Rumors were circulating that Jesus was a resurrected prophet, either John the Baptist (9:7), Elijah (9:8), or another OT figure (9:8). Herod’s desire to meet Jesus went unfulfilled until his trial (23:8–12).
Friends, in today’s Gospel we see Herod interested in and perplexed by Jesus. Political rulers don’t come across well in the New Testament. In Luke’s Christmas account, Caesar Augustus is compared very unfavorably to the Christ child. And that child, in Matthew’s account is hunted down by the desperate Herod. Later, Herod’s son persecutes John the Baptist and Jesus himself. More to it, the Jewish authorities are seen in all of the Gospels as corrupt.
And Pontius Pilate is a typical Roman governor: efficient, concerned for order, brutal. Like the other rulers of the time, he perceives Jesus, quite correctly, as a threat. “So you are a king?” Pilate asks. Jesus says, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”
This does not mean that Jesus is unconcerned for the realities of politics, with the very “this-worldly” concerns of justice, peace, and right order. When he speaks of his kingdom not belonging to the “world”, he shades the negative side of that term. The”world” is the realm of sin, selfishness, hatred, violence. What he is saying is that his way of ordering things is not typical of the worldly powers like Pilate, Caesar, and Herod.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.