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Thursday, November 20, 2008

O, Jerusalem . . .

My little homily for today's readings (sorry, nothing about the 7 heads and 7 eyes):

The great hypothetical we like to ask ourselves every once and while--and I think it's good that we do--is: If Jesus were to visit us right now, would we recognize him? If the Gospel is any guide, I'm guessing that those who would quickly answer "of course I would," would probably be those least likely to do so. The Scribes and the Pharisees were pretty sure they would recognize the Messiah when he came and most of them, it seems, were quick to decide that Jesus didn't fit their profile. Indeed, in today's Gospel reading we get the sense of Jesus' deep sadness that so many of those he came to save could not recognize him.

And I have to say that I'm not so certain I would do any better, because I know how often I've failed to see Jesus at work in my own life. This is probably true of all of us. Yet, I don't find in this a reason for despair, but for hope. Because this realization actually helps our chances at recognizing Jesus' presence in our lives. Knowing that we could miss out, reminds us that we need help. Even the greatest spiritual director is only great to the extent that he or she recognizes his or her own need for a spiritual director. For the greatest spiritual wisdom comes not in an unwavering confidence that we will recognize Jesus when he comes into our lives, but rather in a humble desire to seek out all the help we need to make sure we don't miss him when he comes.