Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 6th Week of Easter: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 80; Evening, Psalm 77;
“He answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: “You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.” (Matthew 13: 11 – 14)
I think that the part that says, “You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive,” is that sometimes we are so hard-hearted and set in our own fixations that we literally block out the truth. If we already think we know what the speaker is saying before he or she finishes what they are saying, our hearts are hardened and we don’t get it. In such a case, “even what we do have will be taken away.” Listening is an underdeveloped art.
Only when we let go of any and all our preconceived ideas (including the idea of race), can we fully see what our Lord Jesus is doing. Only when we truly and objectively listen to another person will we discern what is in their heart. If there has to be a bias, make it of love. I once preached a homily wherein I challenged my listeners to draw a heart with ears. A few did and the hearts with ears on either side looked pretty good. I challenge you to do the same. Regardless of your drawing skills, draw a simple heart and then draw a pair of simple human ears on each side of it. This represents listing with your heart.
I think Jesus’ main point is that we hear what we want to hear. I also think his deeper point is that we should want to hear Good News. We should listen optimistically as well as lovingly. In this way, even if we don’t understand the message of the parable, we will continue to delve deeper until we get it. If we seek, we will find. To their credit the disciples of Jesus stuck with him and followed him and pressed him until they got the parables unraveled, albeit after the Resurrection. Maybe their determination for the truth was what they all had in common. Are you determined to be a disciple of Jesus? If so, listen with the ears of your heart and seek the Truth.
Let us ever keep Ukraine in our prayers. Ukraine still has much, and they will be given even more. And they will have an abundance. This is the way God works.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John