Monday, September 5, 2016

What is the quality of your look? What pair of eyes do you have? - Daily Reflections September 5,2016

During the time of Jesus, rabbis typically visit the synagogue on a Sabbath to preach. As there are several rabbis, each one is given a turn. When a rabbi preaches, all eyes and ears are glued on him.
       In my experience as a priest who regularly speaks in front of many people, I realize, too, that there are many kinds of eyes that look at me. There are eyes that look for guidance and inspiration. They look upon the priest, minister or preacher as a symbol of God.
       And there are eyes that look with starstruck fascination. They follow the person’s every move and gesture. They hang on to his every word.
       There are also eyes that look with suspicion, resentment, insecurity and malice. Believing that they can do better than what the preacher can do, they look at him as a rival and threat. These are the eyes that watched Jesus today in the Gospel. The first line says it all: “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath” (v.7).
     They watched Him closely. If looks could kill, this was it. Biblical scholars note that the word used for this look was paratereo. It could be translated as “to spy on” or “to observe with malicious intent out of the corner of one’s eye.” This kind of look is blind to goodness because it is evil by its nature. Sadly, it sees evil only on the other and never on the self. No wonder the Pharisees didn’t see the life-giving miracle Jesus performed. The only thing their look afforded them was a fury that led them to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus at the opportune time.
       To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. Change happens in a family or in a community when I realize that change begins with me, not in always trying to change others. Change happens in a community when the individual realizes that he has to change as well. Otherwise, that community remains to be a finger-pointing community. Fr. Joel Jason
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is the quality of your look? What pair of eyes do you have?
Lord, today, help me see my faults and recognize the good that is in others. Amen.

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