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Eyes that see, ears that hear.

 

Last October some of the brothers and myself were attending the celebration for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. After the Liturgy we were invited to a sharing. At the sharing a lady came up to me and started chatting, her face seemed familiar. For a brief moment I thought it could be Sr. Briege McKenna, a person I have always longed to meet since I read her book Miracles do Happen. However, my mental image of how Sr. Briege would look in person made me cast the thought aside. In addition, I also was interested in talking to someone else at the time and so I was in a hurry to get back to my other conversation. When Sr. Briege left one of the brethren turned to me and said “you do know that was Sr. Briege?”I could not believe that the lady I always wanted to meet was right in front of me and I did not recognise her. My opportunity was there and my closed eyes and prevented me from seizing it.
Like that experience with Sr. Briege, how often is the Word of God being addressed to us and we simply do not have the eyes to see nor the ears to hear? What biases and images of Jesus do we hold in our hearts that prevent us from recognising and understanding His Word ? Even if we receive the Word, what fears and anxieties do we have that prevent the Word from flourishing in our lives? What temptations and weaknesses keep our hearts keep distracting us from keeping watch with the Lord? This Sunday’s Gospel challenges us with these questions.
One could say that these questions are unfair and that Jesus seems demanding in the Gospel. We can often feel that it is impossible to really hear Jesus, someone  we do not ‘see’ or ‘hear’ as we do other people. We can feel at times he has abandoned us because when we think of him and talk to him we only hear silence in return. As a result, we can conclude that Jesus is asking too much of us when he tells us to receive his Word with a watchful heart.
However, maybe we need to gain a new perspective on how we hear Him and see Him. While we may not always hear Jesus voice in our hearts, through faith we know that he comes to us all the time, speaking to us constantly through the Sacred Tradition of the Church, through the Sacred Scriptures and through the Church’s teaching authority, the Magisterium. This is how we hear Jesus speaking clearly. We also see Jesus with the eyes of faith in the Eucharist, the sacrament through which he remains with us in Love. How easy it is to go to a Church to visit and spend time with him ‘face to face’ as friends. He waits with open arms to offer us his mercy and grace to give us the eyes that see and the ears that hear.
While I may have lost my opportunity to meet Sr. Briege, we should never loose the opportunity to meet Jesus. Despite our hardness of hearts, our dull hearing, Jesus comes to us over and over again. If we pray earnestly for faith and allow His grace to work in us, quietly but clearly we will hear him say to us “ But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!” (Matt 13:)
Gospel Reflection for the 15TH  Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A (Matthew 13:1-23)