Attentiveness to Jesus

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Readings for Today

All Saints for Today

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.  Luke 14:1

What an interesting line.  This line should not be overlooked in that it reveals a common reaction that some have to Jesus.  What is the reaction?  It’s the tendency to observe Jesus carefully from a distance.

Look at the context of this statement.  Jesus was invited to the home of a leading Pharisee and many other people were present.  Those who were there would have been considered the “movers and shakers” of that time.  They were the influential, wealthy, educated, and prestigious of the community.  Many would have been quite concerned about their reputation and quite curious about Jesus since He was growing in such popularity with the people.  So, as a result, they were all “observing him carefully.”

Notice the implication present in this description of their reaction to Jesus.  Unlike the manifest sinners of that time, they did not come to Him, falling at His feet, begging for mercy.  Rather, they appear to be quite interested in how Jesus will be accepted by others, what He will say and what they should think about Him.  Even though it is unfortunate that they do not all completely turn to Jesus in faith, it’s at least good that they are attentive to Jesus and realize He is unique. 

This curiosity on their part is not all bad.  In fact, it may lead some of them to salvation.  By observing Jesus, they are clearly pondering Him, His words and His actions.  This is good if and only if it results in each one of them turning to Him in faith and choosing to embrace our Lord regardless of what others think.  This is a risk for those consumed with their own public image.  But it’s a risk that is worth taking.  For those who are willing to humbly allow their observations to turn into true faith, their lives will change.  But in order to do so, they must let go of any fear they have of what others may think.

Reflect, today, upon any tendency you have to only “observe” Jesus and His will from a distance.  If you find you are curious and interested in the presence of God around you, do not hesitate to act on this curiosity, allowing His words and presence to change your life.  Do not let yourself become concerned about what others may think.  Give your life to Him without hesitation and you will be eternally grateful you did.

Lord, when I perceive Your presence in my life, give me the courage I need to respond.  May I never let societal pressures or pride to interfere with my turning to You.  I love You, dear Lord.  Help me to love You without reserve.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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