16th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

There’s probably been a moment in all of our lives when we wished the Lord would get his message across loud and clear, backed up by all the pyrotechnics we see in today’s First Reading. The Old Testament is full of these moments, and as believers we know that God has spoken to us and the people of Israel in this way throughout history. With the coming of Jesus the moment came to pass from one stage of learning about God and fathoming his almost unfathomable mystery to another: God in the Son took up human nature and revealed himself to us in a human way. Why did he do this, and why does he continue to do so today?

Pyrotechnics and great wonders and signs can attract attention, but for many, they don’t help grow in a robust faith. If the Israelites had grown in faith and an understanding of God we would not have inherited an Old Testament full of cases of infidelity and disbelief, sometimes right after enormous signs of God’s power and presence. Sometimes those signs didn’t go beyond provoking a servile fear, and the minute the signs were absent, people started going back to their own way of thinking and acting. In today’s Gospel Our Lord tells us to see the difference between hearing something and listening, between looking at something and seeing it. The parables present something from daily life, but are also doorways to other spiritual and divine insights about God, the “knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven.” It’s not enough to look at the door: it has to be opened to discover what lies beyond. When we see parables in this way, when we see the Word of God in this way, we see something from which we can draw profound truths regarding ourselves, our world, and Our Lord, not just once, but constantly. But that requires we make an effort in faith to listen and see, an effort to open our hearts and open that door into the greater world Our Lord wants to reveal to us.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us open that door: to open our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our hearts that we may understand His Word.

Readings: Exodus 19:1–2, 9–11, 16–20b; Daniel 3:52–56; Matthew 13:10–17.