Reflection for Wednesday, July 14, 1999: 15th week in Ordinary Time.

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Fitzgibbons, John P., S.J.
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Have you had the experience of standing with a person, say a friend of many years, or before a familiar object, say a sculpture or a fountain or an aged tree, and suddenly seeing that person or that beautiful object as if for the first time? Or, more to the point, seeing the real presence of God right there, embodied before you, for the first time? It is as if the true person or being shines out through the familiar material reality. It is as if our hearts catch the burning of love communicating itself, for love is luminous and must communicate itself to the beloved.||It's hard to put such an experience into words, but that is something of the experience the writer of the Exodus passage tries to convey. Lovers, parents, friends, and teachers may have this experience more often than most... ah, but who can judge that, really? What we can judge is that when such moments occur, we want to take off our shoes; we have been summoned by the Holy. There is no more appropriate response than to slow down, be still, quit walking (or running) at least for the moment, and let the Holy communicate.|Such a simple staying present to the Holy is, I think, part of what Jesus praises in Matthew's gospel reading for today. So often "the learned and the clever" move just a little faster, a little more aggressively. Indeed, the learned and the clever can't sit still; there is too much to do and others depend on us doing so much!|Now, it's a dangerous thing to be challenging the learned and the clever at a wonderful university! But, in fact, Jesus' warning is not against being learned or clever, in themselves. Rather, the warning is to those learned and clever folks who trust in their own acuteness of perception, their own strengths, and their own powers to the point of failing to see the deep truth. When we human beings act as if we are self-sufficient, we cannot hear the Holy communicate; we cannot find God.|Jesus has, in chapters five through seven of Matthew's Gospel, given what we call the "Sermon on the Mount." One of the most striking summations of the whole is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Here in the eleventh chapter, Jesus gives thanks for the wisdom and deep vision of the "children" of God, the poor in spirit, who can see and pause in awe before manifestations of God.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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