The Holy Gospel according to Luke (12:54-59).
Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise, your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
Reflection: Today’s Gospel is not about forecasting weather conditions. It reminds me of a meme of a “weather rope.” A rope hangs from a sign which says, if the rope is wet, it is raining; if the rope is dry, it is sunny; if the rope is moving, it is windy; if the rope is cool and stiff, it is cold; if the rope is white, it is snowing. A “simple” way of forecasting the weather.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus was addressing the crowds. Who was in the crowd? Fishermen, farmers, shepherds, and others who knew what Jesus meant when he spoke about “clouds from the west and winds from the south.” They knew that clouds from the west brought rain from the Mediterranean Sea, and desert winds from the south brought heat. They could interpret these signs, but they could not interpret the signs of the present times. That is why Jesus called them hypocrites. What is that sign they could not recognize, Jesus himself, in their presence, teaching them, curing them, and doing miracles in their presence. Maybe the crowd could not recognize Jesus because they were distracted by their complacency or concerns.
Maybe Jesus’ words are meant to “shake us up.” We know that God is present all the time. There is nowhere that God is NOT present. Do we take the time to recognize God’s presence around us or are we distracted by our complacency or our sinfulness? These things could blind our ability and awareness of God’s work in our lives and his presence around us.
There are ways of helping us to recognize God’s presence in our life. For our sinfulness, we have the sacrament of reconciliation in which we experience our Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. For our complacency, Catholic evangelist Matthew Kelly calls it “the classroom of silence.” Contemplative silence will help us get through our distractions to help us see God’s work and presence in our lives more clearer.
Action for the day: Pray for the grace to go to confession if we need it. Pray for the grace to take some time each day in contemplative silence. Pray for the grace to help us open our hearts and minds to “interpret the present time” to recognize the Lord’s presence in our life and to follow the Lord.