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I assure you, many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see, but did not see it, to hear what you hear but did not hear it
Matthew 13:1-23 or 13:1-9

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Sermon Week Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 13:16-17


"I assure you, many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see, but did not see it, to hear what you hear but did not hear it" Matthew 13:16-17 In the George Bernard Shaw play entitled "St. Joan," Joan of Arc is questioned about her claims of intimate communication with God. "How do you mean? voices?" she is asked. "I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God," she says. "They come from your imagination," the interrogator insists. To which St. Joan replies, "Of course--that is how the message of God comes to me." Anyone who reads the daily newspapers knows that it takes real imagination to appreciate today's message from God in Matthew's Gospel. "Blest are your eyes because they see, and blest are your ears because they hear!" Jesus tells us. Yet, our daily fare of bad news from every corner of the world is more apt to numb our sensibilities and diminish our zest for life than to make us feel blessed and happy.

The incessant bad news bombardment makes us victims of what one social commentator calls "present shock." This is described as a mental battering resulting "in a reduced flow of emotions that the mind normally needs in order to respond normally." The 20th century person in a state of "present shock" is one who is constantly learning of so much tragedy, horror, chaos, and absurdity that he can no longer absorb it. He becomes numb. The newspaper tells him one day that 10,000 infants die every year from a mysterious disease called "crib death." In a magazine he reads that 4,000 people die each year as the result of wearing flammable clothing. That night on TV, he learns that 200 thousand is the latest estimate of persons slaughtered in Bangladesh. Another report estimates that 500 million persons suffer every day from chronic malnutrition. Still other reports speak of seething prisons, of highway carnage, of frightening statistics on alcoholism and other drug abuse, of over-population, of a world moving toward ecological suicide, of wars and rumors of wars. [...]

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