During the summer before my final year of seminary, I worked as a hospital chaplain. It ended up being a pretty rough summer for me and the other men and women in the student chaplain group: we had a record number of deaths and tragic accidents to deal with, and it was, as you might expect, getting us pretty down. Then for morning prayer one day, one of my fellow students brought in today’s Gospel, and we reflected especially on the end part of the reading:
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
The more we explored that reading, the more we became aware that, even in the midst of all of the very real tragedy we were experiencing, we were also experiencing some very real great blessing. How true that is for all of us in life. We tend to dwell on the negative things we are seeing, and no one would ever doubt that we all have to see some pretty rotten stuff in our lives, some people it seems more so than others. But the problem comes when we let go of the blessing that comes too. We people of faith have to be convinced that God is with us even in, perhaps especially in, our darkest moments, and gives us glimpses of the kingdom of God that perhaps others don’t get to see. Blessed are our eyes when we get to see them!
The people in Moses’ day didn’t ever really get to see God. They got to see Moses, who sort of acted as an intermediary for them with God. No one else could see God and live. But our eyes do get to see God. We can see God in the Eucharist, we can see God in the person sitting next to us, we can see God in the graced moments of our day. Maybe we just need to open our eyes to see God more often, but he is there, longing to bless our eyes with the vision of him.