Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Choosing to see

Growing up we used to joke about my father's selective hearing. It was factually true that between the damage done during World War II and having spent most of his life in the mill listening to the banging of looms, he had lost a good portion of his hearing. Nevertheless he did always seem to manage to hear what you didn't want him to hear.

The gospel today says,

Blessed are the eyes that see what you see

It is the same word for blessed as used in the beatitudes. Jesus says it, not to the crowd but, to his disciples in private. Is the implication that he is working private miracle that no one else can see? I don't think so. The point here is something else. Keep in mind in Luke's gospel the 70 have just returned rejoicing over all the miracles they have worked in his name.

The power of the name of Jesus has been witnessed by scores of people and yet only a few actually saw it. We all have both selective vision and selective hearing. The human brain simply cannot process every sight and sound around us all day long, and so we choose. Consciously and unconsciously we choose which things we will attend to and which things will pass by in the periphery.

The things we do actually see and hear become a part of us. They shape who we are. So we should make thoughtful choices. That doesn't mean that every moment must be filled with deep and thoughtful books. Sometimes we need to allow our minds frivolous relaxation, a little mental junk food. But we should not consume a steady diet of it.

As we pass through this day, let us notice what we notice. What are the things you choose to listen to? What are the things you choose to see? What are the things that you regularly overlook?

At the end of each day it should be true of each of us

Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.

Today's Readings