- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 16, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

2nd Tuesday of Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-18

This morning’s reading from 1 Samuel allows us an opportunity for self-reflection. You might recall that the prophet was once captivated by Saul’s countenance and stature. With the passage of time, Samuel was disappointed by Saul’s performance as king, when he saw the revelation of his heart. It seems the prophet had not learned his lesson, because, when he arrived in Bethlehem, he proceeded to judge the qualities of the sons of Jesse by countenance and stature. Like Samuel, we can tell how individuals look, externally, but only God can tell what they are made of, internally. We can say how a person looks, but God can see clearly what the individual is. We tend to judge people on externals, whereas God judges people on their faith, devotion and love, which are revelations of the heart. The realm of the heart is beyond our human ability to discern. We look at people to see how they measure up to our expectations. God looks at people and sees the work of His hands. The author of Genesis put it this way: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

When we examine our works and actions, we find that much of what we do gives rise to shame and guilt. However, when God gazes upon His works He looks into the depths of their being and sees that they are good. Their goodness lies in the fact that they have been made according to God’s eternal plan and for His greater glory. All God’s works exist to manifest the grandeur of their Maker, and not to hide behind their shame and guilt. Saint Paul put it quite simply: “We all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).

The way to become more and more like Christ is to turn our gaze away from ourselves and to fix it on Him Who is nearest the Father’s heart. As we conform to the person of Christ, we too will find ourselves near the heart of the Father. If we make the heart of Christ our resting place, we will find ourselves transformed into His likeness. As we experience the loving embrace of the Son, the Father will see and love in us what He sees and loves in His Son. The more we find ourselves in communion with the Persons of the Trinity, we will be able to set our gaze on things not readily seen: love, friendship, trust, compassion and God’s loving kindness. Prompted by the Spirit we will make room in our hearts for that which is truly valuable in the sight of God rather than storing up for ourselves earthly treasures. When the Lord returns in glory, may He bring us all together into eternal life.