The first line of the excerpt from Jeremiah, and the last line
from Matthew seem to me to be a call to use our senses to observe what is
going on around us, to recognize the hand of God in those events, and to
act on what we know to be true.
“Let my eyes stream with tears, day and night, without rest . . .”
How could our eyes not stream with tears if we opened them to the pain and
suffering of our sisters and brothers, in our own communities and around
the world? We would see the great destruction, the massive wounds,
that our self-centeredness, our selfishness, our insensitivity have caused.
Personal relationships sundered, lives squandered, natural resources plundered,
children starved, whole peoples “cleansed,” all happening in parallel
time to our oblivious lifestyles. If we opened our eyes, we would see
our hand in all this disharmony – we would recognize our guilt. And
in our connected world of today, how can we not have open eyes?
Jesus explains one of His parables and recommends that “whoever has ears
ought to hear.” What should we hear? What did He just say?
Would He repeat it? What is His message? Is there any wonder
that Jesus sometimes seems exasperated with His followers. In today’s
political jargon, He stays “on message” consistently, and yet His closest
followers have to ask Him to explain the meaning of the parable one more
The psalmist reminds us that those who suffer, who are prisoners of these
events and times, sigh before the Lord. Their loud and silent cries
of pain and anguish are heard by the Lord and in compassion the Lord delivers
them. The Lord can make it rain to ease the drought, can heal the wounds,
can free those doomed to death.
But what of us? If we have ears that hear, if our eyes are opened and
filled with tears, then how can we not act with the same compassion as the
Lord? How can we see the pain and hear the cries of anguish and blot
them out? Isn’t this the message from Jesus – we are part of the problem
and the solution. We didn’t “make” evil, but we certainly can foster
it by the way we live. We can’t make evil go away, but we certainly
can reduce its hold on our lives and those we encounter. We are called
to love, to ease the pain, the suffering We are called to work with
God in being compassionate to our sisters and brothers. If we believe
and feel the power of this message, then our eyes will fill with tears when
we feel how our companions are hurting. If our ears are open then we
will hear what we should do about this pain we feel.
And so today I pray for eyes that are open and ears that can hear.