July 23, 2009
Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Why do you speak to them 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 heart 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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, my prayer will “work” only if I have humility in your presence. So I am approaching you with meekness and humility of heart. I have an infinite need for you and your grace. Thinking about this helps me grow in humility. I trust in you and your grace. Thank you for the unfathomable gift of your love.
Petition: Increase my faith, hope and love, Lord.
1. Faith, Hope and Love Remain
What does the Lord mean when he says that “to anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” or that “from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away”? He is referring to spiritual goods rather than material ones. Grace, faith, hope and love are all spiritual goods. To anyone who has them, more will be given. When you exercise your faith, your hope and your love, they increase in your soul. The result? You grow rich in grace. When you do not exercise your faith, hope and love, you lose all because the material world is passing away. As St Paul teaches us, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:80). And in another passage: “So faith, hope and love remain” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
2. Seeing with New Eyes
“You shall indeed hear but not understand; you shall indeed look but never see.” We can view the world in a natural way or in a supernatural way. Faith, hope and love allow us to view the world supernaturally. A natural way of seeing things limits us in a thousand ways, because the natural universe is limited, passing and temporary. The supernatural world seen through faith is unlimited, coming to fulfillment and lasting forever. Without faith we will hear but not understand, look intently but never see.
3. A Fighting Heart
Only when we fight to imitate Christ do we truly understand these words: “Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” This may be hard to understand, but it is so. To know Jesus, it is necessary to be like him. The moment we begin to fight for love of him we begin to be like him, and thus we begin to know him. To have a heart like Jesus’ it is necessary to fight and suffer – to fight and suffer without cowardice, without taking time out and without discouragement.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, grant me the grace to fight with a spirit of faith, hope and love. I want to increase in these virtues and begin to see the world with your eyes – the eyes of the new man or woman in Christ. With you my future is always brighter than my past, filled with more hope and greater promise.
Resolution: Today, I will strive to see persons, actions and events from the viewpoint of faith.
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