Everyone knew it was wrong when King Herod took his brother’s wife, but John the Baptist was the only person to openly criticize it. The lady in question, Herodias, forced Herod to imprison John in the cellar of a castle across the Jordan. She pleaded with Herod to execute John, but he was afraid of the powers of this prophet.
The Gospel says that Herod “liked to listen to him.” I picturing Herod hiding on the stone stairway, listening to John speaking to the guards. We all know what happened next, with Herod becoming infatuated with his stepdaughter’s dancing.
To this story of Herod and John we can add the story of Pilate sending Jesus over to Herod on the day he had Jesus on trial. The play “Jesus Christ Super Star” gave us a picture of Herod’s foolishness in that lyric, “Come on, Jesus, play the fool. Walk across my swimming pool.”
The Bible has these Herod stories to warn us against lives of idleness. Herod began as a good enough fellow, but by always taking the easy way he became a first class villain.
In meditating on the gifts of the Holy Spirit it is a good thing for us to dwell on the gift of Fortitude. By it God urges us to get off our duffs. He urges us to stick to our resolves to do meaningful things with the years left to us.