Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 398

The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?"
....He said to them in reply, "...blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

You and I should be familiar with the disciples' dilemma. We too are caught between the Lord and "the crowd." We understand, or think we understand, Jesus' teachings but we don't understand why the crowds don't. Or we don't understand why he can't explain himself and his teachings in ways the crowd will understand.

We wonder, "Why does he speak to the crowd in parables?" Can't our religion be explained more simply? Can't our faith be more palatable to the public? If we stand firmly with our bishops on the issue of abortion, must we also take their stand on birth control, climate change and immigration policy?

Jesus' reply is typically enigmatic. "Blessed are your eyes because they see...." What do we see?

If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we see that he is the standard for all attitudes, policies and judgment.

"Eyes fixed" means continual contemplation of his life and teaching, and a measured suspicion of what the "world" may tell us about him or anything else. We don't, for instance, worship "The Economy." Those who study that peculiar science, known as "economists," are not even remotely infallible. They try to predict human behavior as if it operated on mechanical principles of ebb and flow, or "fear and greed," without factoring in grace and mercy. And yet they pretend to tell Christians how we should use our money. The only thing economists can predict is that they will periodically lead us off a cliff.

"Eyes fixed" means allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our personal and family life, our business and economic decisions, our private, social and political life. The Spirit of God is wise to the ways of the world; its ways are often hidden to the clever and the learned.

"...many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it...." 

The Lord has revealed himself to you and me for a purpose, and it's more than our personal gratification. We have been sent from Jerusalem to be a light in darkness, a city on a hill visible even to distant travelers. When they weary of the constant fluctuations of fashion, the economy and political correctness they will look for stability to those who belong to Jesus and are guided by his Spirit.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.