Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about how some cannot understand parables.  Yet, others can.  So, why do “they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand?” 

Jesus himself tells us, “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.”

Are our eyes open to see?  Are our ears open to hear?  Are our hearts open to understand?

If we are not striving for God and to live a holy life, they will not be open.  If we do not want to see or hear, then we will not. 

When our lives are ones of prayer and sincere love of God, they can be open.

Sin can make us blind and deaf to the help of God in our life.  Mortal sin is certainly a block.  Many people want the Church to more clearly define mortal sin.  But mortal sin has three components – grave matter, full knowledge, and free consent.  The Church can and does help teach us about grave matter.  Murder, idolatry, blasphemy, serious theft, pornography, and not reserving the marital act for within marriage are all examples of grave matter.  However, knowledge and consent vary and are dependent on the individual.

Preoccupation with the things of this world can choke out our receptivity to the things of God.  So often, we cannot hear God because of the noise of our earthly lives.  Correcting that starts with reordering our priorities to put God first. 

A lack of prayer limits our ability to see, to hear, and to understand.  God comes to us in the silence of our prayer.  We must be intentional about creating opportunities for this silence.  We must strive to listen in that silence.  We cannot hear if we do not take time to do so.

Of course, our efforts must be commensurate with our state in life.  A busy parent with many young children cannot attempt the spiritual life of a cloistered monk.  But, in his or her own way, this parent must have a life founded in some way upon prayer.  Even if it is merely repeating a simple prayer in the midst of the busyness.  At the same time, someone with more available time should not bury the opportunity for more time in prayer at the expense of far lesser activities.

How are we intentional about being open to cooperating with the grace of God in our own lives?  Do we make God, and time with God in prayer, a priority?  Are these efforts consistent with our state in life?