See and Hear with Open Hearts
A carpenter’s son? A neighbor’s child? Sometimes the familiar gets in the way of our seeing God’s work in our lives. We have preconceived ideas about what we can expect from the people we think we know so well. Our expectations can limit the possibilities for them to reveal God at work in them. I often hear parents say that their kids behave so much better, are much more willing to help or lend a hand, are more courteous and respectful to other parents or other adults than they are to them. Actually, they said that about me too when I was growing up. I think all of us have blind spots about so many people in our lives. We don’t seem to be able to see and to hear God’s deeds, God’s creation in our family, our friends, our bosses and co-workers, the people we sit next to in the pews, the workers in stores. Today we have come to use the words “I see you” to indicate that someone is not invisible to us. We say “I hear you” to indicate that we have listened deeply, have listened for understanding rather than argument or attempts to get them to agree with the way we think.
Our scripture readings are all about being sent to places and to people who are “hard of face and obstinate of heart.” Jesus was not able to do much in his hometown. What they believed about his upbringing kept them from believing in his wisdom and power, especially to heal.
Where in our own lives do we recognize our tendency to be “hard of face and obstinate of heart? How to we work to “listen” for what God might be saying and to “see” how God might be trying to get our attention? When we reflect on our experience of the pandemic, do we see and hear people that we think we know or knew, differently? Who do I choose to hear and see differently as a result of my reflection and prayer? In response to the Gospels we read? In response to the pleadings of prophets today?
We pray for the gift of faith that continues to recognize the goodness in all of God’s creation—even those we seek to avoid, to not see, and not hear or even talk to. Pope Francis reminds us to encounter others with love, compassion, and empathy that leads to MERCY.
Jesse Manibusan writes and sings that with open eyes and ears and hearts, “we’ll speak in new ways and we’ll see God’s face in places we’ve never known.” Listen here: