Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
This week we have been given examples of Jesus being more than meets the eye. He’s more than just a man, and even more than a prophet. His words are more than simply wise but are truth. He is more than Jonah, more than Solomon; His family includes more than simply His blood relatives. He is more than our teacher and He calls us to be more than disciples. Why does He not just come out and tell us plainly?
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you…” In other words we do not deserve such knowledge nor can we earn it: it is a gift to those whose hearts are open to receiving it. Those who trust in God will receive even more of this gift and those who cannot trust in God, what little understanding they have will be lost. “Gross is the heart of this people,” and they will receive nothing unless they “understand with their hearts and be converted” and Jesus heals them.
We are not Gnostics; it is not what you know that saves you. Rather we are Christians: it is who you know that saves you. One can know many things about a person without actually knowing them; historians know a great many facts about Abraham Lincoln, but would any of them claim to know him? Jesus speaks to the crowds in parables not because He has anything to hide but because His words are an invitation, an introduction not to what He has to say but to who He is. Christianity is the only religion where the messenger and the message are one and the same. A heart that trusts God, that loves and seeks Him will respond to the truth hidden in Jesus’ words and draw nearer to Him. Those whose hearts are closed to God will hear His words and perhaps find them interesting, but will ultimately walk away, as though they heard nothing.
St. Benedict exhorts his disciples to “listen with the ear of the heart.” Let us listen attentively to the words of Jesus, especially when we hear the Word proclaimed at Mass but also when He speaks to us in our prayer and even in the silence of our hearts. He wants to give us so much more than knowledge: He wants to give us Himself.