Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12
Gospel: Matthew 5:33-37
Early on in my introduction to Ignatian spirituality, a wise spiritual director imparted to me a fundamental perspective that, over the years, has seemed evermore the key to following Christ in this world. “Listen,” he counseled me, “it isn’t that seeing is believing; you already know that. It is, rather, that believing is seeing. How well do you understand that?”
Today’s first reading proclaims that very idea in asking us how we see things and what difference does it make. If we are “in Christ,” we see things differently than we did before, because things are different. What was once a world of mere human construction has become a world redeemed and re-created by Christ’s death and resurrection. Indeed, “now all is new!” For me, then, the challenge is to see my world as renewed, to see God in all things. It is to see Him in those close to me, in friends and family. But it is also to recognize Him in relative strangers, including the student who is cutting my class, the politician who has it wrong, and the driver dawdling along in front of me. Nor is it enough to see the glory of Christ’s redemption in a magnificent sunset or the silken feel of a rose petal. God is also found in a dreary sky and the weed patch next door. It’s about seeing as believers.
But, of course, it doesn’t end there. It never ends in simple contemplation, no matter how inspirational. Rather, if truly inspired, my contemplation of the wonders of God in a redeemed world beckons me to do something, to act, in response. Here, St. Paul even suggests what I am to do: I am to become an ambassador for Christ by bringing reconciliation to my world, just as He did to the whole world. I am to stop “counting men’s transgressions against them” and start seeing differently those who may have wronged me or others, which in turn calls me to hold out my hand in forgiveness and starting over.
Now that’s tough duty and I certainly would prefer sometimes just
to enjoy the wonders of redemption in solitude. But Christ’s call
always seems to be for more than that. If believing leads me to seeing
differently, then seeing differently will lead me to acting differently.
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