Today’s readings, for me, carry the reminders of how many ways God has been and can be revealed to us. The children of Israel encounter God as a palpable presence in the desert – a dense cloud with peals of thunder and lightning, then the fiery manifestation of the Lord. While Moses was the person with whom God spoke directly, in calling the people to assemble and in using the awesomeness of nature, God revealed to the people the majesty of the almighty. As an aside, I also found it interesting that God visited Mount Sinai on the third day, and Jesus rose and revealed Himself to His disciples on the third day.
Daniel finds God in a variety of contexts – name, temple, throne, looking into the depths, in the firmament of heaven. In all these settings, Daniel notes that the Lord is blessed, praiseworthy and exalted above all others forever. Daniel’s song of praise is an acknowledgment of the wonder of God when situated in a variety of powerful positions.
Jesus teaches the disciples that, for many of us, God is revealed in parables. The disciples who were in His presence knew who Jesus was, why He had come, and the truth that He brought (although, it is true, they sometimes were fuzzy on these revelations and occasionally forgot them altogether). To those who were not so blessed with this personal contact and insight, parables offer a way to revelation through growth in understanding. Isaiah chastises those who have closed their eyes and their ears; they cannot be converted unless they see and hear and understand in their hearts.
So too with us. Some (very) few of us may experience a revelation of God similar to that received by the Israelites in the desert. Some mystics among us may be able to find God as did Daniel in a variety of exalting contexts. But for most of us, I think we find greater understanding of the Almighty by simply keeping our eyes, ears, and hearts open. When we close our eyes and ears, we also harden our hearts, and we can’t find God. But when we are open to the many small ways that God is present to us – the song of the bird, the setting sun, the smile of a child, the outstretched hand of the homeless man, the elderly in a wheelchair, the prisoner, the aggressive commuter, the cantankerous colleague – our understanding of God grows and flourishes. Each reading and application of a parable can give us new insights into the message Jesus brings, to a fuller understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom. Each time we open our eyes and ears to the infinity of God’s presence around us we also open our hearts to a deeper understanding of God.
And so my prayer today is to keep my eyes and ears open so that my heart will follow and be receptive to God’s message to me.
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