28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I started wearing glasses in the 4th grade.
I was nearsighted,
which means I couldn’t see distant things clearly.
For some 35 years,
I had single vision lenses and occasionally contacts,
and they worked quite well.
But when I was in my mid-40’s,
I started to have some problems reading,
and I discovered that I needed bifocals.
A few years after that, I found that I needed trifocals to see clearly!
I suppose that, for some, that makes me old.
But I don’t mind.
I like being able to see clearly!
We hear a lot today about “seekers.”
They want to see more clearly in their spiritual lives.
They’re typically (but not always) young people.
Some say that they are “spiritual but not religious.”
Others may go to church regularly but are struggling
with some of our Church’s teachings, practices
and yes, scandals.
Still others call themselves atheists or agnostics
but are open to new spiritual insights.
The Synod on Young People currently being held in Rome
is in part an effort to discern
how to better minister to this diverse group.
Like the earnest young man in today’s gospel reading,
in some way all of us are seekers throughout our lives.
If we’re honest,
none of us can claim to “have it all together” spiritually.
As many have observed,
the spiritual life is a marathon, not a sprint.
It is an effort to,
in the words of the 13th century bishop, Richard of Chichester,
to see God more clearly,
love God more dearly,
and follow God more nearly,
day by day.
Our readings today present us with
what could be called trifocals for the soul:
Psalm 90 suggests that remembering our mortality
—that we’re all going to die someday—
can help us to focus on what’s really important in life:
“Teach us to number our days aright
that we may gain wisdom of heart.”
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that
God’s word can also help to sharpen
our spiritual and moral vision:
it’s “living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating between even soul and spirit…and able
to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
Our first reading reminds us that the desire for wisdom
is the foundation for clarity of spiritual vision.
Wisdom is a gift as well as a virtue,
and we can receive it if we love it,
pray and plead for it,
and make growing in it a priority.
The frame around our spiritual lenses
is the humility and ability
to recognize our need for God’s grace
and providential care.
Our own resources alone,
even our riches,
cannot save us.
But God can and God will…
if we let God. +