Summary: "the light of love is born when our hearts are touched and we open ourselves to the interior presence of the beloved"
Thursday of 2nd Week in Ordinary Time 2014
King Saul of Israel exhibited what we might call paranoid schizophrenic tendencies. He had an on-off relationship with his son, Jonathan, and the same kind of relationship, but even more intense, with the man he considered his main rival, David. Jonathan loved them both, and tried to keep them together in friendship, but his work was done in vain. We’ll see in the end that the rupture cost Saul and Jonathan their lives, because when they needed David the most, he was a bandit in exile. Yet when David heard the news of their death in battle, he composed a moving lament, because he truly loved Jonathan, and he respected Saul, even though Saul was a very weak and unstable leader.
The true king of Israel, Jesus, the king whose reign will never end, had a huge problem with His people. He was to be a king, but a new kind of king. His kingship would not be imposed from outside, by force, but from inside, beginning with the hearts and minds of individual sinners. He would be king because of the love His Holy Spirit would engender in our hearts for Himself. He would unite us into one people, one Church, by bringing us together in one faith, one baptism under one Lord and Savior. So when he healed, he told his beneficiaries to keep quiet about it, lest people mistake Him for the “other” kind of king, the Saul kind. He worked to mute the unclean spirits as well. He needed time to organize His little assembly, His first disciples, and didn’t want the Romans to arrest and execute Him before they were evangelized. Hence what has been called the “Messianic Secret.” Jesus was Messiah, but not the one expected.
To understand the true Messianic Identity of Jesus, we need, in the words of the prophet, to look upon the One we have pierced. We need to envision the Lamb of God standing triumphant with His five wounds, slain, but still standing. We need to see the Resurrected Messiah, Jesus, Son of God. As the popes tell us, we need, in union with the Apostles, “to peer into the depths of what [we are] seeing and to confess [our] faith in the Son of God, seated at the right hand of the Father.
“It was only in this way, by taking flesh, by sharing our humanity, that the knowledge proper to love could come to full fruition. For the light of love is born when our hearts are touched and we open ourselves to the interior presence of the beloved, who enables us to recognize his mystery. Thus we can understand why, together with hearing and seeing, Saint John can speak of faith as touch, as he says in his First Letter: “What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life” (1 Jn 1:1). By his taking flesh and coming among us, Jesus has touched us, and through the sacraments he continues to touch us even today; transforming our hearts, he unceasingly enables us to acknowledge and acclaim him as the Son of God. In faith, we can touch him and receive the power of his grace. Saint Augustine, commenting on the account of the woman suffering from haemorrhages who touched Jesus and was cured (cf. Lk 8:45-46), says: “To touch him with our hearts: that is what it means to believe”.26 The crowd presses in on Jesus, but they do not reach him with the personal touch of faith, which apprehends the mystery that he is the Son who reveals the Father. Only when we are configured to Jesus do we receive the eyes needed to see him.”
Next we need to consider the relationship between faith and reason. Blessed John Paul wrote an encyclical on that very mystery, Fides et Ratio. There is an opinion going around that faith is opposed to reason. It comes right out of the belly of that hell we call the “Enlightenment,” which was really a European dark age that gave us the French Revolution and several wars. It says that reason must rely only on what our senses and measurements tell us, and that anything beyond that is the realm of an irrational faith. Those of us who believe in God, in Divine Revelation, and in the salvation of Christ and sanctification by the Holy Spirit are just dreamers. We believe without reason; we believe without evidence. That is sheer malarkey and we’ll be seeing the truth about faith and reason in coming weeks.