Tag Archives: King Herod

“My King is Bigger Than Your King!” – Mt 2:3-8

It is New Years Eve today.  I am anticipating the coming new year with anticipation and hope.  I recently realized hope is the only action verb I can think of that depends on itself to come true:  Hope depends on Hope!  Faith depends on hope as well.  It is what gets us through those trials, when faith is challenged.  To me, both hope and faith are graces from God with each working in the other.  And together, there is a synergistic effect greater than each separately.  Jesus showed us this on the cross: three nail equals four-giveness (Sorry for the pun but anyone who knows me, knows I love puns.)!    

King Herod with the Magi

Quote or Joke of the Day:


 Give God what’s right — not what’s left.


Today’s Meditation:


When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.  They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”  Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.  When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”  (NAB Mt 2:3-8)


King Herod reminds me of the ‘typical’ politician, even today.  He was no different than the Sanhedrin and Sadducees later in Jesus’ life.  Nor is he any different from the politicians of today!  All have the need to be superior to all others.  All are filled with greed, narcissism, suspicion of friends and foes, and fear of losing power. 

Herod had no interest in paying Jesus homage.  He was tyrannical, and wanted to eliminate any threat to his power.  He had no idea where this new ‘messiah’ was, but he knew that even as an infant, Jesus’ presence was a threat from those following Him rather than the “King” of Judea: Herod. 

 Herod’s consultation with the chief priests and scribes have a remarkable similarity to an old  Jewish legend about the child Moses, in which the “sacred scribes” warn Pharaoh about the imminent birth of one who will deliver Israel from Egypt,  and the kings plan to destroy Moses (Matthew 2:11Psalm 72:10, 15, and Isaiah 60:6).

 Again, a lowly versus mighty theme is intertwined in this part of the story.  Bethlehem is a small, poor, and lazy village, compared to the metropolitan Jerusalem with its rich and affluent lifestyles.  I just think about all my family vacations, which were spent getting away from the big city, and trying to spend as much time in the rural lifestyle as was possible.   

It is interesting that as I try to go to the basics in  my lifestyle, I am also getting to the basics of my faith.  There is nothing fancy to my belief in God, and being Catholic.  I need only one basic element, and the rest just fall into place:    

All I want is to be in your presence my Lord, Jesus Christ.  With your grace, I want always to see you in this life of exile, and in future life of eternal paradise.  Amen.    


Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO




Secular Franciscan Order Motto:


Pax et Bonum

(Peace and All Good)


“We Three Kings are the Star of the Show!” – Mt 2:1-2

It is New Years Eve Eve (is this good english?!).  The snow is falling, and I am getting sick of it already.  Don’t get me wrong:  I love snow, but the St. Louis Area has poor capabilities to handle the roads, and there are some real “ya-hoo” drivers that think 4-wheel drive means “can go anywhere and do anything, ‘ including swerving in traffic and doing 10 miles over the speed limit.

Again, please pass the word about this site.  I wonder if changing to another site like blogspot wood be better for getting the word out?Please let me know.  Thanks.


The Magi

Quote or Joke of the Day:


Friends are like stars. You may not always see them but you know they are always there.



Today’s Meditation:


When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (NAB Mt 2:1-2)


“We three Kings of Orient are traveling far … .”  I have sang this song many times, but never truly understood what the Kings journey and significance meant to me and catholicism as a whole.  After meditating and reflecting on these two verses, I will never sing this song apathetically again.  There is a lot packed into these two sentences.  The future rejection of Jesus by Jewish temple leaders and worshipers; and his acceptance by the Gentiles at the very start of His life, are demonstarated in the scene presented in these sentences.

Herod was a King under rule of the Roman emperor.  He was powerful: but not as powerful as the Roman government.  King Herod had to appease, and especially not upset, his Roman leaders.  This King reigned from 37 to 4 B.C.  According to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus had to be born before the year 4 B.C., and not at year 1 A.D. as most Christians think.  Who really knows for sure the exact date of His birth, and who really cares!?  The date is not important:  it’s the God being born a human, for our redemption, that is important.

The Magi were originally a designation of the Persian priestly clan or caste system.  The word ‘magi’ became used for those who were regarded as having more than human knowledge; such as someone that could  interpret dreams, astrologers, or those that performed magic.  In Matthew’s Gospel, the magi are “astrologers.”  Somehow, in the western church,their names came to be Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior; with Caspar being black.   The magi were not Jewish: they were gentiles, and probably from Persia, eastern Syria, or Arabia.

The star being followed by the magi is identified with the messiah in Old Testament.  It was a common ancient belief that a new star appeared at the time of a ruler’s birth.  Matthew drew upon the Old Testament story of Balaam, who had prophesied that “a star shall advance from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17), though in this OT verse the star means not an astral phenomenon, but the king himself.  This ‘star’ was a definite heavenly body, and was probably either a supernova, a comet, or a planetary conjunction. 

Just think, a heavenly body brings in the announcement of a heavenly God made human – by a heavenly angel to lowly Jewish shepherds and rich, wise gentile men –  looking towards the heaven. 


Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO




Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:


… “Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24).