Understanding is a gift that most of us probably take for granted. We make use of it all the time – it functions quite automatically without our having to think much about it. There are some scholars who have made a lifetime study of human understanding, most notably in our own tradition Bernard Lonergan. To plumb the depths of his writing is difficult. It is also ironical because you use the very gift he is writing about when you try to understand what he is suggesting about your ability to see, grasp, come to terms with and know.
For most of us, we get through our days using understanding without thinking about it. But when you do think about it, two things, among others, can be said. Understanding takes time. And understanding is a collaborative effort. We need time to let things sink in. And no one comes to understanding anything alone. We need others.
Mrs. Adele Lerner is one-hundred and one years old and she lives in
In a sense,
We have a gospel this morning, a story about Mary as she wept, and then took a second look into the tomb. The story unfolds and she is moved by Jesus from pain to recognition and then joy. A few sentences in which she moves to a new way of seeing, loving, hoping. Jesus spoke her name, and she saw who he really was. We can assume, I think, that it would take more time for her to understand, at least in part, what had been given to her by Jesus.
It takes us time, too, to see, to hear, to look at life and each other with the sight afforded by faith and love. We need each other for that in this community of faith. And we need to give each other the time to come closer to the Lord who stands in our midst and calls us by name to see life in a new, loving way.
The responsorial psalm this morning is “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” It is that fullness that we are asked to see and believe and love. I like to think that everyone has a gift that can help us see the meaning of that psalm bloom in life. An old woman’s slow moving hand across a canvas, a kind word to lift one’s spirits, a visit to a sick monk, these and more – bits of living color to the as yet unfinished canvas of God.