The Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature,Thursday 28 September 2017
Gospel: Luke 9:7-9
The Scripture passage begins with that key word: ‘vanity’. There is also the temptation to make it a life of vanity, of living for things without substance, which pass. Essentially, there is temptation to live for appearances.  Jesus suggested the opposite approach: The Father sees, this is enough. The only essential is our life with the Lord. Vanity is a liar, it’s fanciful, it deceives itself.
And this is what happened to Herod the Tetrarch: when Jesus appeared, Herod was perplexed. He thought: “but could this be John, whom I beheaded? Could it be another?” Herod’s reaction shows that vanity sows cruel unrest, it takes away peace. 
But let us think about the demon, who also tempted Jesus with vanity in the desert. He proposed, come with me, let’s go to the temple, let’s make a spectacle: throws you off and everyone will believe in you. The devil truly served Jesus vanity on a platter. 
Vanity is a very serious spiritual illness. The Egyptian desert fathers said vanity is a temptation that we must fight against throughout all of life, because it always returns to us to strip away the truth. 
And to explain this they used to say: it’s like an onion, you take it and begin to peel it. You shed a layer of vanity today, a bit of vanity tomorrow and so it goes, throughout all of life, peeling vanity to defeat it. This way in the end you are content: I shed vanity, I peeled the onion. But the odor stays on your hands.