One morning, the husband was at breakfast…
… his face hidden behind the morning paper.
The frightened maid tiptoed into the room and whispered something to the wife’s ears.
The wife – paled slightly – then squared her shoulders resolutely and said:
“Dear, for the last seventeen years, you have been eating oats porridge in the morning.
You will be very upset, isn’t it, if you don’t get it this morning?”
Expecting the worst reaction, the wife began to turn away.
The husband, hiding his naughty smile, however said: “Oh how sad!
Yes, I will miss my daily meal!
But hey! It’s also a nice chance to get something interesting to eat, without having to tell explicitly…
… how bored I am with my daily meal!”
The husband, without wanting to express that he wanted a change in his meal,
… hid behind a casual attitude of “saying yes” without really intending!
Well… such is the case with many of us as well, probably.
>> There are many things that we don’t really enjoy…
… yet, pretend that everything is fine.
>> There are many things not going on fine with us…
… but we still behave as if we are okay with everything.
We sometimes are people who affirm and consent…
… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality
>> There is a “lip” yes…
… but not a consent with the mind.
>> There is an external nodding…
… without a true affirmation from the heart.
The Gospel of the Day presents such a classic case in the context of the disciples of Jesus saying a “Yes” to having understood the teachings of Jesus…
… and invites us to examine our lives and check whether:
>> We say only a “lip” yes, without the consonance of the mind!
>> We give an external nodding, without the affirmation of the heart!
The first 50 verses of the 13th Chapter from St Matthew is a quick montage of several parables…
… Seven in all…
1. Parable of the Sower (vv. 1-9)
2. Parable of the Weeds among wheat (vv. 24-30)
3. Parable of the Mustard Seed (vv. 31-32)
4. Parable of the Yeast (v. 33)
5. Parable of the man finding the treasure (v. 44)
6. Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (v. 45)
7. Parable of the Net thrown in the sea (vv. 47-50)
These 7 parables teach several great truths and virtues….
1. Preparing our hearts to receive the Generous Word of God….
2. Accepting the reality of evil in the world and being firm to be good…
3. Realizing the Divine Grace that blossoms our littleness into a shelter for many…
4. Recognizing the transforming effect of a committed faith…
5. Experiencing the joy of discovering the Lord as the Treasure of our lives….
6. The Willingness to give up everything to prioritize the Lord as the Pearl of Great Prize….
7. Living a life with the awareness of the judgment of good and evil at the end of our lives!
At the end of this quick, power-packed narration of the 7 parables, Jesus puts forward a question to His Disciples:
“Do you understand all these things?”(Mt 13:51)
The Lord wished to know if His disciples were grasping these great truths of Christian Life…
>> He wanted to know from His chosen ones, the level of their understanding.
The Gospel says the Disciples “answered, ‘Yes'”(Mt 13:51b).
Well, we are not fully sure whether the Disciples really understood and grasped everything….
>> We really can’t say for certain whether their “Yes”…
… was only a “lip” yes or one with the consonance of the mind
… was an external nodding or one with the affirmation of the heart
There are many occasions in the Gospels…
… when we see the Disciples “said something” but did not actually follow it or live it
… Or they really did not fully understand and grasp the person of Jesus and His teachings
>> At the Transfiguration, when Peter said, “Let us make three tents”, the Gospel says, “he did not know what he was saying!”(Lk 9:33b)
>> After the multiplication of the loaves, the Gospel says “they had not understood the incident of the loaves”(Mk 6:52)
>> After the calming of the storm at the sea, they said to one another “Who then is this Whom even wind and sea obey?”(Mk 4:41)
>> They failed to recognize and see the Father in Jesus and so Jesus chided them, saying, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?” (Jn 14:10)
They asked Him Show us the Father.
We therefore do not really know the depth of the “Yes” of the Disciples…
… Was it only an instinctual reply?
… Was it just a spontaneous answer?
We cannot fully trace the intention of the Disciples.
But this incident is certainly a reminder and an invitation for us to examine…
… Do we seek to understand the Lord and His Teachings?
… Are we aware of the greatness and the worth of the many devout practices of our faith?
Let us examine…
>> Do we realize the Power of the Most Holy Mass and prepare ourselves accordingly for a worthy celebration…
… or has it become a regular routine of life, without the due preparation and a sense of reverence?
>> Do we read the Living Word of God daily, and seek to live in accordance with His Teachings…
… or has the Bible merely become another “object” of the house, only to be kept in a place of seclusion, with an occasional glance?
>> Do our prayers and the reception of the other Sacraments become a God-experience and have a life-touching effect…
… or have they been rendered as casual or even compelled actions, with little effect on one’s life and activities?
Yes, as Christians, we are sometimes people who affirm and consent…
… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality.
Today, let us seek the intercession of Great Saintly Doctor of the Church – St Alphonsus Liguori – the Patron Saint of Theologians – on his feast day.
>> His life was lived in purpose and clarity, seeking the Will of God, in the midst of the many confusing and deviant ways of the world
>> His being was filled with determination, despite the many heresies and anti-faith philosophies that cropped up in his time.
As we thank the Lord for another month in our lives, let us offer this new month of August into the Providential Hands of our God…
… by giving heed to the Lord, who invited His followers to be like the “instructed scribe, who is like the house holder who brings from his storeroom, both the new and the old.” (Mt 13:52).
God bless! Live Jesus
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – There are many who say to the Lord, “I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve.
>> But there are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it happens in conformity with Divine Providence…
… as well afflictions as consolations
… contempt and reproaches as honour and glory!”