HEART-SIGHT MORE THAN IN-SIGHT (19th Sunday (Year C) | August 7, 2016 (English)
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
HEART-SIGHT, MORE THAN JUST IN-SIGHT!
Perspective was what we reflected on last week. It meant having clear eyes to see the
difference between what lasts and what doesn't last ... like the dew that with the early
morning sun passes away. Qoheleth reminded us last week: "transitoriness of
transitoriness!" ... "Vanity of vanities!" ... Jesus, too, would have us set our sights
beyond earthly greed, beyond working for mere accumulation of material things. "Take
care that your heart is not overtaken by greed."
Given the right perspective, we know that man ought to work for his keeps, not for his
greed. Merely working for one's keep means one gets to a point when he has to say
"enough." People who work on account of greed never will have enough, for the pull of
the more, the better, and the greater simply does not reach a point of satiety.
This Sunday, another perspectival concept juts out of all three readings. And the
perspective does not have to do merely with things that last, but more so with the very
"last things" - ta eschata - the ultimate realities of human creaturely existence. Wisdom
refers to it in symbolic language as the time for the "the salvation of the just and the
destruction of their foes" (1st Reading). The Letter to the Hebrews refers to it as "a better
homeland, a heavenly one," and speaks of God who "has prepared a city for them" (2nd
Something so important and valuable is not to be taken lightly, but prepared for seriously.
Thus the reminder from the Lord: "Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on
what day the Lord will come," (Alleluia verse) repeated one other time in the Gospel
passage from Luke: "You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the
Son of Man will come."
But I would like to take a little step forward this Sunday. These two Sundays, we have
been talking about the importance of having good vision ... that is, seeing rightly. Indeed,
as the GUI mantra puts it: "what you see is what you get." Values seen for what they
really are worth, are values we work for, strive after, and aim at with the totality of who
and what we are as persons. But what we value, we also love. Knowing always leads to
loving. A known good is a good that attracts, that pushes us to act towards attaining it.
Knowing-good cannot be far from wanting-good. What the mind sees as good, the heart
wants as value. Insight cannot be far from heart-sight.
Antoine de St. Exupery, in his famous work "Le Petit Prince" puts it so well: "It is only
with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Mind-sight
(or what we often call insight) is not all there is. We also need heart-sight. We also need
to see clearly with the heart, as we need to see with the mind. We need as much
evaluative knowledge, as conceptual knowledge.
The first lines of today's gospel passage clearly point to the need for this heart-sight, as
much as the need for insight: "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
Peter Kreeft, writing about discernment in daily life, speaks about seven foundational
guiding principles. The first, it turns out, is what he calls "hermeneutics of the heart."
The very first rule to follow is literally counter-cultural, so against the grain, as it were, as
to seemingly be against common sense. People in our times would rather go for statistics,
for scientific, verifiable, measurable, and quantifiable data. People would go generally for
what the polls point to - the most popular decision and what would make the majority of
people happy. But Kreeft wisely counsels what mass media does not counsel: follow your
heart. Follow where your heart leads you to.
And this does not mean being led by subjective and fleeting emotions. Far from it! It
means, first and foremost, having heart-sight, being in love with God, being in touch with
God in and through our capacity for a decision that springs from the biblical center of our
personhood - the heart.
St. Augustine knew it by experience. And he was right all along ... AMA ET FAC
QUOD VIS! .... Love and do what you will. When we love, we see more, not less. We
see what is right and proper, what is honorable, what is worthy of honor and praise. With
proper heart-sight, we will be led to do only that which is right and proper ... what is
godly, what is honorable and worthy of praise. For it is only with the heart that one sees
Today, the Lord invites us to see life and all it offers from the right perspective. And that
right perspective is born from one's ability to allow room for the heart to do its proper
role. Allow me to enumerate some of the characteristics of a person with the required
heart-sight and in-sight ...
First, the gospel passage tells us not to be afraid. One who sees rightly with the heart has
a heart full of courage: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is
pleased to give you the kingdom."
Second, the Lord reminds us that a heart full of love is also a heart full of excitement and
readiness for the coming of the Lord: "Be like servants who await their master's return
from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks."
Thirdly, a heart full of love is one imbued with a deep spirit of faithfulness: "Blessed is
that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so" (that which is expected of him).
Knowing what's coming up ahead makes for good vision. Knowing what one ought to do
because of what's sure to come, and doing accordingly both make for heart-sight. In
Christian life, we need more than just insight. We need heart-sight. For it is only with a
believing and loving heart that one sees rightly and fully.