When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. But Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate.” (Lk 23: 8-11)

Herod wanted to see Jesus because he “was hoping to see him perform some sign (miracle)”; that is to say, Herod wanted to be entertained by the Lord, as if He were some kind of court jester. Herod was not interested in the Person of Jesus Christ, but in His “entertainment value.” Herod’s human need for entertainment, which is a healthy thing in its proper place and time, had developed to the extent that he was entirely a seeker of stimulation, with no interest in spiritual growth. This put Herod on the wrong side of the cross.

Entertainment in the form of watching a show, as we do online, on TV, or on stage, provides us with relaxation and passivity; a “switching off” of certain brainwork. In small doses this kind of entertainment can be healthy and restful. But if I overdo it, for example, by binge-watching TV-series on a regular basis, I can cripple my capacity to focus, and to engage real people and real situations as God sends them to me. I can ultimately cripple my capacity and thirst for spiritual growth; my capacity and willingness for grace-filled cross-carrying.

On this Friday let me be mindful, and ask the Lord to help me walk with Him, and in Him, on my cross-carrying journey. Let me keep my focus on Him, Who was crucified for me that I may have truth and life; the grace-filled life He offers me, when I have the eyes to see and ears to hear what truth He has to teach me today.

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