12.5.17 Tues. Advent – wk 1 – (Ii)
1st Rdg – Isaiah 11: 1- 10
Gospel Luke: 21: 21 – 24
†Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Blessed Are Your Eyes
Today’s Gospel opens with these words: “†Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 10:21) What was the cause of His joy? †Jesus could see the world with the eyes of His Father. We recall the description of God in the book of Genesis after He had created the world. We read: “God looked at everything He had made and He found it very good.” (Gen.1:31) †Jesus was there rejoicing at the moment of creation. And even when He took on flesh, †Jesus continued to rejoice in what He saw in His Father’s work.
In the prophecy of Isaiah (I don’t know if you have ever noticed this) but half of the animals mentioned are predators; the wolf, the leper, the lion, the bear, the cobra and the adder. (Is.11:6-8) And the other half of the animals are prey; the lamb, the kid, the calf, the cow and the baby. (ibid) A predator will need a complete change of character to resist attacking and eating the prey. †Jesus rejoices because He sees the coming of God’s Kingdom, where fierce predators will act with new natures. They will eat hay like the ox, rather than eating the ox, and that is why †Jesus rejoices because He understood the prophecy of Isaiah and knew what it was leading to. †Jesus is bringing about that Kingdom anew.
But there is more to these Scriptures than the behavior of animals. They speak to us of how we must look at one another. To be in the Kingdom of God, is to see as God sees. We live in a predatory world, ruled by worldly appetites. We are called to live in a way that is not worldly, where the sacred converts the secular. We are called to evaluate the world with spiritual eyes.
St. Paul writes: “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.” (1 Cor.2:12) On the day of our Baptism, we received a new nature, not just human nature, but a nature filled with the Holy Spirit. We have been given the Holy Spirit to see as God sees; that’s why †Jesus said to His disciples in private: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see…Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:24)
The “wise and the learned” (Luke 10:21) see a world of predators and they follow the rule: “Do unto others before they do it to you.” In that world the lion lays down with the lamb, but the lamb doesn’t get very much sleep. But the “childlike”, sees as God sees – a world where mercy and metanoia are possible. The “wise and the learned” look at exterior, the “childlike” look into the heart as †Jesus does and rejoices as †Jesus rejoices. With spiritual eyes we do not see a criminal, but we see a potential “good-thief”. The childlike see fierce opponents of the Lord as children of a loving and merciful God.
Last week, in Myanmar, Pope Francis met with persecuted Muslims; persecuted by the government there. As we know, many Muslims think we are Infidels and they want to kill Christians. The Pope knows that, but here is what the Pope tweeted after he left Bangladesh. “Dear Friends in Myanmar and Bangladesh: ‘Thank you for your welcome. Upon you I invoke Divine Blessings of harmony and peace.” (2 Dec. 2017) The Holy Father sees what many others do not see. He does not see terrorists, he sees children loved by their heavenly Father.
The word in these Readings that connects Isaiah and the Gospel of Luke, the words that connects those two readings is the word: “Child.” “The calf and the young lion browse down together with the little child to guide them.” (Is. 11:6) And †Jesus prays: “Father, you have revealed hidden things to the childlike.” (Luke 10:21) How do we achieve this childlike faith? By being present to †Jesus in prayer. Learning from Him how we should look upon other people through spiritually purified eyes, not eyes filled with suspicion and cynicism, fear or selfishness. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit implanted within us, “A Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of council and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (Is.11:2) And we regain childlike vision by encountering †Jesus in His Word and in Sacrament, uniting our heart with His heart, asking for the grace and the simplicity of a child.
During this Advent Season we are going to spend more time standing in lines at malls than kneeling in recollection before the Lord. Spend more time in prayer this Advent and then you will rediscover that child within, innocent, trusting, loving and generous. “Blessed are eyes that see what you (can) see” (Luke 10:24); eyes that see as God sees – then you too – will rejoice in the Holy Spirit.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.