We have just two verses presented to us to ponder in today’s Gospel. As Jesus prays to his Father, we are treated to his words: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth……..” His prayer has been likened to the Thanksgiving Hymns from Qumran and also sounds very much like John’s Gospel. “The Father and I are one”…unity. In the confusion and sadness of the past week in our country, the concept of unity seems far off—out of our reach—unattainable.
Jesus words do not suggest anti-intellectualism, the word used for childlike hepioi, “infants” connotes a dependence of one who is needy as well as one who is inexperienced—like the disciples. God’s gracious will is to reveal all things to all who falls within those two criteria. So these are our clues to unlock the beauty of our invitation today. Perhaps, Jesus suggests not so much that God keeps things hidden from but rather our blindness is the real obstacle to seeing clearly the message of love and unity which Jesus constantly lived out.
If I cannot acknowledge my total dependence on God, I live in blindness. If I allow what I have learned and understand intellectually to hinder my “spiritual” eye, I remain in darkness—even partial blindness prevents me from seeing fully the truth in a given encounter. I love this quote I read recently and feel it has something to say to the dynamic of hepioi, “Learn your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of a living soul” CG Jung. Imago Dei; the simple and profound truth of our creation, we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We are one body—united, and our ability to see this is a grace and blessing not only to ourselves but to every person—and creature we encounter. Love personified, the Imago Dei, hidden in plain sight.
We must vigilantly strip away all our prejudices; rout them out as soon as they are revealed to us. As Christians, our desire must be to embrace Jesus’ the message of love and mercy even when it is NOT convenient—the message of the cross. “The cross demonstrates two profound realities; the depth of destruction caused by unloving behavior, and the even greater depth of God’s response. Jesus compassionately bestows his Father’s forgiveness on his unrepentant murderers…’Father forgive them’…” (Good Goats-Healing our image of God: Linn, Matthew, Sheila, Dennis. P.23)
As our Psalm for today suggests, “The Lord will not abandon his people” (94:14); we might ask the question,” have we abandoned the Lord?” Let us rise above the confusion, hate and anger to live in harmony with all of God’s creation. May we step back to see our hope, we are—each of us—the Imago Dei; may we strive to mirror that at every moment. This begins with me!
Come Lord Jesus; heal our hearts, homes and our land. Amen.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.