Daily Reflection
July 26th, 2001
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Ann, parents of Mary
Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Matthew 13:10-17

"Why do you speak to them in parables?"

I remember as a young boy, asking Jesus this same question.  Why is this stuff about "the meaning of life," that us kids were learning in grade school, so hard for everyone else to figure out?  Why is there a "puzzle" at all?  If this is so important - about whether our lives lead to ultimate happiness or complete disaster - why isn't it something we tell everybody very clearly, and all the time?  And, I remembering wondering, as perhaps only a child can wonder, "Why do people do really bad things?"  "Don't they get what will happen to them?" 

As a kid, Isaiah's satirical irony was lost on me.  But as an adult, it makes more sense.  Life is really all about listening and looking intensely.  Missing it all is really all about having a "sluggish heart."  The meaning of life is so obvious.  To miss it, we have to firmly close our eyes.

The more life-experience we have, the more humble we become.  We know the difference between "understanding" and even "accepting" the mystery of life, and being able to live a life that acts with "integrity."  We have experiences of loosing sight of what we know and believe.  We know what it is to have a heart that is "fat."  Who isn't embarrassed to actually hear ourselves say, "I don't have time to be healthy;" or make the defense, "I'm too busy to get my priorities straight?"  Who hasn't had the experience of being aware of what others who are holier or wiser are saying to us, but we just aren't listening?  Haven't many of us been "sobered" in the awesome presence of the mystery of death itself?  We may have even realized how short our lives are and perhaps even resolved to live more focused on the eternity, and yet have found ourselves returning to the same "blindness."  And, we all know what it is to live in denial of the obvious.  After a while, it just isn't so obvious any more.

That is why "eye opening" moments are so transforming.  That is why "conversion" changes our hearts.  That is why re-newal, re-orientation, re-commitment and re-dedication are so important.  That is why we ask for God's grace.

To live as Jesus invites us to live is to choose to act on what opens our eyes.  It is to let our priorities and commitments be shaped by a heart that is lean and free.

On this day, we remember Ann and Joachim, Jesus' grandparents.  Oh, how open they must have been!  How they must have given themselves to living the word they heard and accepted!  Oh, Lord, by your grace, may we all turn to you and be healed.

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