|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Our Eyes
We hear in today’s Gospel how the people are astonished at what they have witnessed in this miracle of casting out demons and in Christ’s teaching. We might wonder why is it that all the people who heard Christ and saw his miracles did not repent and follow Christ. They were first-hand witnesses of him casting out demons and healing the sick. They heard his eloquent words and even in today’s Gospel said they were “astonished and amazed” at what happened.
Yet, we know that only a few followed Christ in comparison to the number of people who heard him. Christ came to be one of us and show us the way back to God but God gave us free will and Christ never took that free will away. It was up to them to follow Christ or not.
The same is true for us. Our freedom has not been taken away either. We have been telling the story for nearly 2,000 years and every generation, every human being still has the ability to either hear the message, respond and follow or not respond and not follow. There is really not much difference between them and us. We may say, “Well, we don’t actually see Jesus do the miracles. We don’t actually hear his words. If I had been there, I would believe.” Would we? Would we be any better than the many who saw and heard and still did not believe?
It seems to me we find just as many excuses to not see God in our world today. I suspect if we lived back then, we might have been just as tempted to reject it even when we saw it with our own eyes. The challenge is whether we really see God at work. It most often requires some work to do so today as well. I believe wholeheartedly God is at work constantly in every aspect of our world, God is already here present within us. And not just within us but actively working within us. He is not a passive presence but an active presence in the center of our beings, in the profundo centro (profound center) as St. John of the Cross calls it.
God within us encourages us in the way that he wants us to go. It is in freedom we choose. He gives the choice to us. But we need to open our eyes to see with eyes of faith. He can do miracles right in front of us but if our eyes are closed, we will never see. That is the danger. Look up at the beautiful hills and say, “I see the beauty of God’s creation here.” Or look at our spouse, our fiancé, our girlfriend, our boyfriend, and see the wonder of God’s creation. Look at our children, gaze into their eyes and see the love of my God, who is present to me in this child. Yes, God is among us. He is here but we need to open our eyes.