Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not comprehending or accepting something does not invalidate its truth

"If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man. The miser would run no more after his treasures, or the ambitious after glory; each would shake off the dust of the earth, leave the world, and fly away towards heaven" - Saint John Marie Vianney

(Gospel text: Mt 13:10-17)
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?"
He said to them in reply,
"Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.

"But 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."

“They just don’t get it.” How many times have you heard someone describe a group with whom they disagree with this stinging yet ultimately unhelpful dismissal? (Perhaps you, like me, have uttered those words yourself?) Once “we” determine that “they” “don’t get it,” “we” can bask in our superiority and stop caring about “them.”

At first glance this seems to be what Jesus is saying about the crowds to whom he speaks in parables: “They look but do not see, and hear but do not listen or understand.” Somehow I think we need to give Jesus a little more credit. Surely he cares not only for the disciples but also for the crowds and believes they are capable of understanding and redemption.

The “they just don’t get it” attitude seems to me to be far too prevalent today. In politics, in the workplace, even in the Catholic Church, I believe we too easily demonize and dismiss people with whom we disagree. Would we not all be better served--and more Christ-like--if we sought humbly to befriend them?

But more importantly, love them patiently.

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