16th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday (Year II)
Psalm 36; Matthew 13:10-17
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
This text has been interpreted as dividing the world into “us” (insiders) versus “them” (outsiders), but for practical spirituality it is more helpful to think of the two as stages in one’s own journey. We all begin as beginners in the spiritual life, as infants needing milk and parables. If we receive divine nourishment willingly day by day, we will eventually be able to take the solid food of the deeper “mysteries.” But solid food is for the mature (Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 3:2).
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see.
It is helpful to ask oneself, when do I hear without understanding, or look without seeing? What are the obstructions that prevent union and communion in the Trinity?
Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted and I heal them. “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Receptivity to divine mysteries is a matter of the heart. From the moment the seed of grace is planted in baptism, the lifelong process of watering, fertilizing and nurturing the new heart begins. Grace transforms stone into flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Spiritually enlightened eyes and ears develop as the Holy Spirit works from the inside out to transform every cell of our being.
For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light (Psalm 36:9).