Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO
The 6th Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 11: 1-9, Matthew 8:34- 9:1)
“The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that they had built. (Gen. 11:5). It is interesting to read how God descended from his heavenly realm to check out his creatures’ building project. It is reminiscent of His strolling in the garden (CF. Gen 3:8). Unlike Adam and Eve, the people did not run and hide. They just kept going about their business, indifferent to his presence. While they were of one mind with each other, they were not of one heart with the Master of the Universe. When there is no union with the Creator and Sustainer of life there can be no communion among men. The storyline is similar to that of the road to Emmaus, the Master of the Universe was with them, but “they did recognize him” (Lk. 24:16).
God is just and fair in all that he does. His mercy is everlasting. The prophet Isaiah states it quite nicely. “I was ready to answer, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one looked for me” (Is. 65:1). The tower builders wanted to ascend the heights but had no desire to worship the divine majesty. They were so intent on their designs that they did not apply themselves to the plans of the Master of the Universe. They were so distracted by their chatter that they could not pay attention to the approach of God in their midst. God patiently waited and watched. In a stroke, he transformed their endless chatter into unintelligible sounds. Those who did not listen to the One in whose image they were made could no longer understand each other. God in his mercy stopped their self-destructive project and set them on a journey that would enable them to discover their need for each other in Him.
Their language was confounded and as a consequence, we who are their descendants find it challenging and often impossible to communicate with one other. But all is not lost. God in his compassionate love has sent his son into the world. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens to door, I will come in, and share a meal with him and he with me as friends” (Rev. 3:20). It is the Lord’s heartfelt desire that all people, even though they have been scattered to the ends of the earth should be one with him as he is one with the father (CF Jn.17:21). God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Like the prophet Elijah, we need to listen for God’s gentle, small voice (CF. 1 Kings 19:12). Then having heard his voice, we need to go out and meet him, welcoming him into the innermost recesses of our hearts.
The true disciple hears the Lord call his name, takes up his cross, and follows the Master wherever he goes. The true disciple lets go of his plans and then strives to make God’s plan his own. Only when we immerse ourselves in the communion of Love that is the Trinity, will we have the wisdom we need to build a human society founded on justice, hope, and peace. Pope Francis said it most beautifully, “Let us remember this: if we put the Beatitudes into practice if we embody the wisdom of Jesus, we will give savor not only to our own lives but also to the life of society and of the country in which we live.”