Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hearing means meekness and humility

My son, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. For great is the power of God; by the humble he is glorified. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.  The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man’s joy. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins. Sir 3,17-20.28-29

In today’s meditation, we start from this line: “The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man’s joy”. Therefore, there is a link between hearing and being wise, and there is another one between knowledge and reading the parables, assuming that parables are not only the ones told in the gospels, since the history of salvation is also a long and big parable. Making of all these concepts a single one, we can assess that sage are those who hear, and through hearing they also become wise only in a symbolic vision of life. The theologian Karl Barth states the same concept with his sentence: “the Bible in one hand, the newspaper in the other one”. In these daily meditations, we mostly refer to the gospels, in which the universal truth is more concentrated and easier to understand. We are talking about the real parables, and the events in the gospels which show Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection, his miracles, the Speech of the Mountain, Ascension and Pentecost better than the very parables. The parables communicate absolute truth by telling moving stories, in which the reader has to detect a real symbology. They do not explain the truth, but they throw us inside them and we must find our way to understand where we are and our way back home: that is to say, to get the truth of the parables into our real world. The language to explain the spiritual truth  by using visible realities is made possible by the fact that there exists a basic relationship between the “world” and the “kingdom of Heaven”, between the “human history” and the “history of salvation”. These relationships, working on the same principle as the communicating vessels, permit the relationship between the Bible and the newspaper and make the parables a wonderful instrument to read the spiritual truth. My friend Sergio, eternally looking for faith, told me one day: “You know, I have started to deepen in the mystery of Passion and Resurrection by meditating the parable of the wheat grain, which must die beneath the earth so that it could bear an abundant fruit”. Once these basic concepts are clear, we are ready to understand the first lines of today’s reading. The first one recommends: “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are” and the deepest point in humility is the attitude to hear the people, the events, the parables and God’s word altogether. The second one states: “Many are the proud and superb men, but God reveals his secrets to the meek”. That is, God reveals his secrets to the ones who do not think they own the truth, but has the meekness and humility to look for it in God’s word, particularly in the parables. The spur to dive into this reading is offered to us, day after day, by the need to understand both the events reported in the newspaper, and the one we live in our everyday life.

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