22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
LK 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2019
There was a time, not so long ago, when a person who had undergone cataract surgery, to remove a cloudy lens that distorted or totally obstructed vision, was easily identified. Following the fairly serious and invasive surgery, the recovering patient had to wear, what was commonly referred to as: “coke bottle glasses.” These “spectacles” magnified the person’s eyes in an uncomplimentary way. The weight of the thick glass lens was also burdensome. Thankfully today, there is a much less invasive, out -patient procedure, with a 98% success rate. Following the removal of the cloudy lens, a tiny, plastic “inter ocular lens” is implanted. There’s no longer a need for “coke bottle glasses.” In fact, many patients, post -op, recover 20/20 eye sight. If you meet someone over the age of 74 without bifocals, they either have exceptional genes, or they’ve had cataract surgery.
Just as the lenses in our eyes can fail due to age or injury, our spiritual vision can be obstructed or blurred as well. In fact, if you read the whole of Luke 14, from which today’s Gospel was lifted, you might well be left with the impression that Jesus’s dinner companions were all suffering from poor spiritual vision.
The fact is, all humankind, inherited compromised spiritual vision from the First Parents. Adam and Eve tragically made a deliberate choice not to see things “God’s way.” The result was an injury that infected the genetic code. It being God’s will that we all see reality with clarity, God gave Israel The Law and The Prophets as a means to spiritual correction.
Through “The Law” many people began to see and live God’s will and God’s ways. Others found this remedy too weighty or burdensome and rejected it. All of the guests invited to dine with Jesus, it would seem, looked at life through the lens of The Law; they were probably all Pharisees or Temple authorities. But for some reason, reality was still blurred or distorted for them. Maybe they had the wrong prescription, or need to clean “their glasses” of arrogance and pride. Whatever, the reason, they could not see Jesus for Who He is and appreciate what He brought.
The Father, desiring that humankind recover perfect spiritual vision, sent The Son to introduce a radically simple remedy, which when followed has a 100% success rate. Through Baptism, that which clouds our vision is removed without pain. Implanted in the place of human frailty, is the HUMILITY OF JESUS CHRIST. But, this “spiritual implant” which restores our vision needs to be maintained and supported. So with it, Christ introduced the other Sacraments, intended to be celebrated within the family of The Church.
When we gather for the Sacred Meal of the Eucharist with purity of heart, unlike the guests at the dinner party described in this Gospel, we enjoy a clarity of vision that enables us to see Christ…in one another and in ourselves as well. When we leave the Eucharist, we are nourished by what we have been served, enlightened by God’s Word, and strengthened by one another’s companionship. Then, we leave the Church and move back into the world and the week ahead of us. By virtue of the vision we enjoy through God’s grace, we are better able to see how things are, how things could and should be….AND…what we can do to make the world a better for everyone. Then, in all humility, we undertake the work of discipleship.
Because of all this, we are easily identified. Not by “coke bottle glasses” or the absence of bifocals in our elder years. People know who and what we are through lived humility…the HUMILITY OF JESUS CHRIST. Amen!