Sunday, July 5th, Pentecost V, Hidden or refuse to see
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67, Psalm 45:10-18, Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Two stories come to mind when I think of those who refuse to listen to John the Baptist and Jesus ……
- There was a young priest who concluded his sermon by telling a story and sitting down. The organist and choir director came up to him a while later and said that a choir member complained that if he had known the priest was not going to explain the story, he would have listened closer the first time.
- And an Anthony de Mello story from Taking Flight
When the devil saw a seeker enter the house of a Master he determined to do
everything in his power to turn him back from his quest for Truth.
So he subjected the poor man to every possible temptation: wealth, lust, fame, power, prestige. But the seeker was far too experienced in spiritual matters and was able to fight off the temptations quite easily, so great was his longing for spirituality.
When he got into the Master’s presence, he was somewhat taken aback to see the
Master sitting on an upholstered chair and the disciples at his feet. “This man certainly lacks the principal virtue of the saints, humility,” he thought to himself.
He then observed other things about the Master that he did not like; for one thing, the Master took little notice of him. (“I suppose that is because I do not fawn on him as the others do,” he said to himself). Also the kind of clothes the Master wore and the somewhat conceited way he spoke. All of this led him to the conclusion that he had come to the wrong place and must continue his quest elsewhere.
As he walked out of the room, the Master, who had seen the devil seated in a corner of the room. said. “You need not have worried Tempter. He was yours from the very first, you know” – Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight, Copyright 1988 by the Centre of Spiritual Exchange
No I am not going to end now, but maybe connect the two parts of the passage, with the help of the verses in between.
20 Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent Matthew 11:20
Maybe this says something about who are the wise and intelligent and who the infants are in the second part. And says something about what it means to be wise and intelligent. That this may say something about their view of self, and that the truly wise and intelligent are humble and their intelligence and wisdom is an acknowledgement of what they don’t know, and for some sort of passion and continuous search for the truth and for more wisdom and understanding. This is a realization of weakness, incompleteness and for our need for forgiveness.
This seems to suggest that there are three kinds of people, to oversimplify.
– Those who are the infants in all they are both literally and at some other level.
– Those who consider themselves superior to those who are the infants.
– And those who understand who they are and see both their strengths and weaknesses and their need for connection to God and Community.
So in other words, these words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11:28
It is for us to realize that we are all in this and are in need of rest and support, and the Rev. Glenn Empey has said, that we often mistake what we want for what we need.
The infants are those who don’t seem to make that choice,
The truly wise know the difference, but those who are filled with the pride of intelligence seem to think they know their wants are what they really need, or don’t really think they need anything from anyone.
So let us truly take to heart Jesus’ word: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.