Wednesday, July 20, 2005
THURSDAY 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
JULY 21, 2005
THURSDAY 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME - YEAR I
EXODUS 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20B
In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt, on its
first day, the children of Israel came to the desert of Sinai. After
the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai, they pitched camp.
While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain, the LORD told
Moses, "I am coming to you in a dense cloud, so that when the people
hear me speaking with you, they may always have faith in you also."
When Moses, then, had reported to the LORD the response of the people,
the LORD added, "Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves
today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments and be ready for the
third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai
before the eyes of all the people." On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the
mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the
camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai
was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The
smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain
trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while
Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder. When the LORD
came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of
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."
Some people read today's gospel and think that Jesus is saying he
teaches in parables in order to confuse the listeners. Of course, this
doesn't make sense. No teacher teaches-it doesn't matter what method
he's using-no teacher teaches so that the listener will not learn.
So what is Jesus saying? We've all had this experience. We talk with
someone about a matter of great importance to both of us. After the
conversation we think the matter is understood, settled, there will be
no problem with it. Then later on we find out that nothing was settled
by the conversation, because either the other person heard only what he
wanted to hear, not what we actually said-or-we heard only what we
wanted to hear, not what the other person actually said. So we were
talking on different wave lengths. There was no conversation at all.
This is the sort of thing Jesus is talking about in today's
gospel. "I use parables, Jesus is saying, because they look and do not
see, they listen and do not hear or nderstand . . ." and I`m trying
to make them see and hear and understand.
There are many reasons why we don't see and hear and understand. One
of the reasons is that our own private interests get in the way of
understanding. A child whose mouth is watering for a piece of candy,
simply will not hear his mother telling him not to eat before supper.
Jesus teaches using parables, so that a very vivid picture, a picture
the listener knows and understands because it is part of his life, will
seduce the mind of the listener away from his self-interests. `I use
parables to get them to see and hear and understand.'
The danger to Christians who live but do not listen is very real. The
more closed we are, the less will we grow in the Spirit; the less we
grow in the Spirit, the more closed we shall become, so that we will be
able to see and hear and understand less and less as time goes on. As
Jesus puts it, "the person who has not, will lose what little he has."
It is important, therefore, to pray for openness of spirit to Jesus'
teaching, for this is the only path along which anyone of us can follow
"Holy Spirit, fan the flame of God's love within me and consume me with
your fire, that I may grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and ever
seek to do his will. May my heart never grow dull and may my ears never
tire of listening to the voice of Christ."
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