Thursday, July 27, 2017

Is your cup already full?

July 27, 2017

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 398

EX 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20B

DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

MT 13:10-17


In the modern day of the internet, we seem to have a paradox.   While on one hand, we have one we have a nation of people who tend to avoid reading difficult and challenging books, on the other, we seem to have developed an entire nation of experts on every subject.  With the advent of the digital search engine, we have become a nation of honorary google doctors, lawyers, and political analysts.   One of the most common, and perhaps to only me, most annoying phrases that seem to be used in the vernacular is “I know.”  No matter what the subject matter or the depth of the conversation, everyone already knows.  It is as if we are afraid of not knowing, of appearing uneducated or ignorant.

In Jesus parable today he reminds us of a spiritual reality.   He is not talking about taking away our precious toys.  God is not our Bilbo and we are not Golem.  What He is speaking of is a plague among our current culture.   That if we already have all the answers, how can we learn anything?   People seem to grow in anger if you dare question their ability to do anything.  Criticism is received as a personal attack, even if the intention of the person giving it is of the most beautiful in nature.  We almost seem to think just having knowledge is the same as understanding it.   Try that with any field of specialization and the results can be devastating.   I know the theories behind a particle beam accelerator and what it does internally on a quantum level.   Put me in charge of one?  I’ll mess it up.   I know it... But I also don’t know it.

Just so with our faith.  If we feel like we have already arrived, how can we grow?   If we do not feed our faith with Scripture, Prayer, the Sacraments, and all the other means of grace in the world; how then can we keep hold of it?  The devil and his spiritual cohorts are seeking to strip you of that faith at every moment.  The volleys of temptation rain down from outside the walls of our spiritual armor and if we have not refreshed it, we are more apt to fall into them.  He who has a little faith and does not seek to grow it will watch it dwindle until eventually, the fire blows out.  He who is on fire, and kindles that fire, and allows the Holy Spirit to fuel it, will continue to grow.  Unlike the laws of thermodynamics, in the spiritual realm, you do not get diminishing returns.  The more faith you have, the more you can receive.

I know what it means to receive the Eucharist.   I have studied for years and I know the theology and the definitions of those big words used to describe it.  If you ask me to speak about it I can talk for hours (some say I never shut up).   The thing is, do I really know?  If I did, would you be able to keep me away from Mass?  From Adoration?  From Confession?  If the world truly understood what the gift of the Church is, the pews would not only be full, but there would be lines into the parking lot and beyond.   The sound of the Church bells ringing would cause everyone to pause and give thanks, even if they weren’t at the Parish itself.  I think today we should ask ourselves, am I open to learning?  To growing in reverence and holiness?  Or is my cup so full of answers that I have no room to let God in as a teacher?