Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 7-21-22

Reflection for the 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 7-21-22, Year C
Readings: Jer 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13; Ps 36:6-7ab, 8-9, 10-11; Gospel Mt 13:10-17
Optional Memorial: St Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Doctor of the Church
Theme: Hear and See the Lord

Sometimes, it seems, that you can talk to someone until you are blue in the face and yet they still do not get it. Then you put the situation into terms they are familiar with or have experienced themselves and BAM, they get it!  We can all be a little hard of hearing, a little blind in our sight to understand the true meaning of a message being given to us. It is in times like this that we need to be given a different perspective, an alternate view of the message to finally understand the deeper meaning in it.

Unfortunately for some of us, because of our own choosing, we do not want to see the deeper meaning of the message. We are just fine with understanding things the way we see them, the way we want them to be, or believe they should be. Our hearts can be closed and access to our minds blocked. We are certain that we have it right and no one is going to change it for us. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about those of us who may not have as open a heart or mind as we should. We are the ones that are so caught up in the world that we can only see and hear what the world is telling us. The deeper meaning of Jesus’ message is lost because we do not want to hear it or see it from His perspective.

Belief in God is shrinking in the world today because we have stopped hearing and seeing. We think we are the creators of our lives, that we have earned the things in our lives through our own doing, and we have judged for ourselves what is right and what is wrong based on earthly ideals and societal norms. God? Who needs God? We have done all these things ourselves. We no longer hear or see the truth, just like Pilot did not hear or see the truth standing right in front of him when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38).

Jesus spoke in a way that changed the vantage point of His message. By explaining His message in a story that relates it to the daily lives of those listening, He is able to help them to see the deeper meaning. But that does not mean they all will believe or act on it. There are some whose hearts still can be closed and their minds blocked. They will not hear or see.

We might say to ourselves, “If Jesus spoke to us, we would listen.” It is not always as simple as that. Look at Judas the Iscariot, he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Judas walked with Jesus for three years hearing His word and seeing His miracles, yet he did not hear with his ears or see with his sight because he was persuaded by 30 pieces of silver from this world. Think about what you believe to be true and decide if you are listening and seeing Jesus or this world.

Many will hear the Word of God but not understand, they 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.” (Mt 10:15).

Do not stop listening with your ears or close your eyes to the truth that is right in front of you. If you are struggling to understand God’s Word, try to view the message from a different perspective that relates His Word to your life experiences to understand its meaning. Know that there is something greater here than your understanding of the world. There is a reason why the Ten Commandments’ first Commandment is, “You shall not have other Gods besides me.”   (Ex 20:3), or that the “greatest commandment” starts with complete and utter love for God, Himself, as Jesus tells the scribe, “The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:29-30)

Remember who created you and that the soul you were given was given to you by God. Who else could have given your life with a soul? Certainly not ourselves. Put God first and foremost in your life, then you will be able to hear with your ears and see with your eyes the real truth that transcends this world into eternal life in heaven!

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL