27 July 2023 – Thursday of Week 16
27 July 2023 – Thursday of Week 16
1st Reading: Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20
On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.”
When Moses had told the words of the people to the Lord, the Lord said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Responsorial: Daniel 3:52-56
R./: Glory and praise for ever!
You are blest, Lord God of our fathers. (R./)
Blest your glorious holy name. (R./)
You are blest in the temple of your glory. (R./)
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom. (R./)
You are blest who gaze into the depths. (R./)
You are blest in the firmament of heaven. (R./)
Gospel: Matthew 13:10-17
The disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn
– and I would heal them.’
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell 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.”
Spiritual vision and blindness
We all have our moments of spiritual insight but perhaps also we drift off into spiritual apathy or blindness. Like our biblical forebears we need to consciously return to seek grace and meaning. The words of Jesus call us to open our eyes, to appreciate what he has brought us. “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”
We turn to Jesus to revive our finest ideals from the days of our fervour. If we remember our original call, its inspiration and our first enthusiasm for life, God’s grace can grasp us again, as it has in times past. In such a context we might gain new understanding of those puzzling words of Jesus: “To the one who has, more will be given until that one grows rich; the one who has not, will lose what little he or she has.”
Listening without hearing
When Jesus speaks of looking without seeing and of listening without hearing, we can relate to what he means. We know from experience that sometimes we listen without hearing and look without seeing. If what is being said is not worth hearing we listen without paying attention. If what is in front of us is not really worth our attention we ignore it. But Jesus blamed those who saw and ignored him and who equally ignored what he had to say.
The Gospel is worth more than a cursory glance and a half-engaged listen. The more carefully we look at Jesus the more we will see, and the more attentively we listen to him, the more we will hear. That is what Jesus means in the gospel when he says, “for anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough.” The more we attend to his word, the more we will receive and the more blessed we will be, as he says at the end, “Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear.”
Jesus is alive among us as risen Lord; he is there to be seen and to be heard by us all. We hear and see him in a special way when we gather to celebrate Eucharist with him. But he is to be seen and heard in other ways as well. He is visible and audible to us in and through each other, especially in and through those who are most vulnerable. We pray for eyes to see and ears to hear his presence among us.