Gospel Reflections by Father Gerry Pierse, C.Ss.R.

C - 6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 • Rev 21:10-14, 22-23 • Jn 14:23-2

Seeing with the Heart

An old man sat at the entrance to a town. Passersby would often ask him questions. One day a stranger asked him, "What are the people in this town like?" "What kind of people were there in the town that you came from?" asked the old man in reply. "In the town I just came from," answered the stranger, "the people were kind, generous and honest; they were wonderful people!" "You will also find that the people in this town are wonderful," said the old man.

A few hours later another stranger approached the old man and also asked, "What are the people in this town like?" "What kind of people were there in the town that you came from?" asked the old man. "In the town I just came from," answered the stranger, "the people were cheats and robbers, they were terrible people: "You will also find that the people in this town are terrible," said the old man.

We see with the eyes of our hearts. If there is love in our hearts we will see love. If there is hatred and hurt in our hearts we will also see hatred and hurt. Unfortunately, these patterns can be passed on from generation to gen eration. We do to others what was done to us by people who had it done to them. It is a well know fact that those who have been abused, physically, psychologically or sexually by their parents are the most likely to abuse their own children.

Jesus is aware of the harsh realities of the world when he talks in today's gospel about love and peace and about not having fear or trouble in our hearts. "If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him." To love God is first of all to accept being loved by Him. When we accept this love we become more free from fear and trouble. Being more free from fear we become more free from compulsion and our way of seeing others begins to change. When our way of seeing changes our behavior also begins to change.

These truths have been brought home to me in the sharings of people who practice meditation. In meditation one tries to be still with reality and not be frantically trying to change it. One woman who had been meditating for some time said "I have always had difficulty with being told that I should see Christ in my neighbor. My neighbor throws garbage into my garden, causes endless trouble in our community and curses me using the vilest language. Christ would never do that! I think that what is asked of us is not so much to see Christ in our neighbor as to see our neighbor with the eyes of Christ. If Christ were in my position he would say. 'If this person is giving out so much poison the poor creature must be full of poison. That poison came from her suffering. She must have suffered so much to be made into a person like that.' While her behavior still hurts me if I can see her with the compassionate eyes of Christ, I will not condemn her or let her take away the joy of my life."

When we are still with the Spirit of God dwelling within us our behavior will begin to change of its own accord. There was one woman who was a walking library of novenas. She had at least one for every day of the week and one for almost every kind of predicament. She had St. Jude as the final elixir when nobody else could solve the problem! One day, after about a year of meditation she realized that she had said no novena for two days. What had happened, I think, was that as she became internally aware that there was a loving God within, she was no longer compulsively trying to control and manipulate God through her novenas.

Many who are trying to cope with drug dependence are now turning to meditation. This will not be of much value if it is tried as an effort to get cured, a technique to change ones external behavior. But if it becomes a way of cleansing the eyes of the heart, a way of being with the reality of oneself, it becomes a way of experiencing oneself as one who is loved by a loving Father God even if one's life got out of hand. Soon this awareness will lead to acceptance of self, of seeing oneself in an new way and this will help towards different behavior.


Taken from Sundays into Silence - A Pathway to Life. Copyright © 1998 by Claretian Publications

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Sundays into Silence

A Pathway to Life

by Gerry Pierse, cssr
380 pp., PhP 299, U$ 19.95

“The best word I can find to describe this book is integration. In these reflections on the gospel readings for year A, B, and C of the liturgical cycle, Fr. Pierse integrates the richness of the word of God with experiences and stories from life in the community. He shows how through silence, the word can bear fruit in service and sacrament.” (R. J. Cardinal Vidal)

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