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The wisdom of Jesus is awesome!
It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. Welcome back to Radical and Relevant, where we are exploring the enduring wisdom of Jesus's teachings. In today's gospel, from the 10th chapter of Luke's Gospel, we hear about Jesus praising the Father for the way He distributes wisdom and speaking to the disciples about the privileges of discipleship. In the same hour, He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to children. For, Father, such was your gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father. And no one knows who the Son is except the Father and those whom the Father chooses to reveal the Son to." Then, turning to His disciples, He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see and did not see it and to hear what you hear and did not hear it." The word that jumps out at me today is desire. Desire is an intense feeling of hoping and wanting for something to happen. God gave us the ability to desire, and He gave it to us for a reason. Do you ponder them, encourage them, or do they only rise up unbidden in rare moments of spiritual inspiration? Desiring the right things may just be the secret of life.
The phrase that strikes me in today's reading is "Your gracious will." This is how Jesus describes the will of the Father, even though He knows He will be ridiculed, beaten, lied to, betrayed, tortured, mocked, and crucified. Your gracious will. Jesus refers to the will of God as gracious, and gracious means kind, pleasant, generous, thoughtful. It perhaps often seems like the will of God is anything but kind, pleasant, generous, and thoughtful, and yet, in time, it reveals itself to be just that. The idea that strikes me in this passage is where Jesus says, "Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see." Consider this idea from two different perspectives. The first is just a material lifestyle perspective. The average American lives a vastly more lavish life than the kings of yesterday. Take travel, for example. Just 500 years ago, it took a whole day just to cover 30 miles. It wasn't until toward the end of the 16th century that carriages became popular. Even the bicycle wasn't invented until the 19th century. Today, we travel by car, train, cruise ship, airplane in comfort, convenience that would astound the kings and queens of centuries past. Now consider food supply, plumbing, electricity, communication, education, entertainment, dentistry, healthcare, and the everyday comforts we take for granted and even grow weary of sometimes. We live like kings and queens, [and?] and our impatience when these things are not available or malfunction often matches that of the petulant kings and queens of ages past. You live better than Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cyrus of Persia, Victoria, Henry VIII, Isabella of Spain, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette.
Now let's consider it from a spiritual perspective. Sure, during Jesus' time, people may have gotten the chance to see Him as He passed through their town once, maybe twice. But we get to receive Jesus in the Eucharist whenever we so desire. Then consider the opportunity to do as we are doing right now, experiencing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. Ponder all the spiritual wisdom that has been compiled over the course of Christian history, the lives of the saints, the knowledge of prayer and meditation, and the vast deposit of faith that resides in the church and is freely given to you and me. None of this was available to people before Jesus walked the earth. Imagine how excited and delighted Moses and Abraham, Rachel and Sarah, Jonah and Ezekiel, or any of the great biblical figures would have been to read the New Testament. And now, let's consider Jesus' words again.
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see." Gratitude is the virtue today's gospel spontaneously invites us to integrate deep into our hearts, minds, and souls. The word gratitude refers to an overflowing thankfulness that is ready at all times to show appreciation and pass on the kindness we have received to others. Gratitude is the remedy for so many of our troubles. It is a marvelous indicator of spiritual health and in an age obsessed with personal happiness, it is worth noting that it is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. The gospel of Jesus Christ is as radical and relevant today as ever before. Go out into the world today and astonish people with your gratitude. And remember, don't just be yourself, be the very best version of yourself, all that God has created you to be.
Thank you, Ambassadors. You are changing the world. Have a great day. Bye-bye. Simon, come sit.
I love you.
Have a great day. [applause]