October 23, 2020 – Friday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102320.cfm)
The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, sound quite harsh but simple. He said, “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why you do not know how to interpret the present time?” The crowd that gathered around Jesus were very slow to recognize the person in front of them. The kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus. The face of God has already been revealed. Yet, the people were not able to understand the signs revealed in the ministry of the Lord.
What could have prevented them? What was the cause of the blindness of the people or of their indifference towards the Lord?
The crowd that gathered around Jesus, most of them, were perhaps became only intrigued of the works of Jesus. The Lord who became popular among the people because of his works and preaching, were sought after by the people. Others wanted to meet him to be healed, to get answers for the questions of their life, others must have been there in order to witness something spectacular from Jesus.
However, many of them, did not really understand who was before their eyes. Many failed to see God working in the ministry and in the life of Jesus. This must have been caused by that limited understanding of the people.
This limited understanding was caused by the biases, preconceived notions and uncompromising belief about God that hardened the heart and mind of the people. For example, the people saw Jesus as merely a prophet, or a healer, a preacher, a reformer or a carpenter. People were so fixated that God was distant and cannot become closer to the people. The people believed in a God who easily get angry, violent and aggressive. The Pharisees and scholars of the law promoted a belief in a God who is untouchable. Hence, sinners and sick people were removed from the community.
These are just some possibilities that prevented people from recognizing the Lord and understanding the signs of God’s grace in the present. There are still many others that until now have gripped us from reading and recognizing those signs of God’s grace for us.
Hence, on our part, we might fall to the same failure of the people as we also bury ourselves into our past mistakes, into our habitual sins, into feelings of hopelessness and despair, into guilt and fear, into our anger and hatred, into our abusive tendencies, into our selfish intentions. When we yield even into one of these, then, we could also become dismissive of God’s presence and ignorant to God’s manifestation in the present moment.
Today, Jesus wants us to become a people who longs to see God’s face and able to accept God’s grace today. This is what our Psalm proclaims today, “Seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Let us seek God’s face and enjoy God’s presence among our friends and family members, with God’s creation and all the things that surround us now. As we recognize the Lord, let the Lord challenge us and move us to go beyond ourselves. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR