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Discovering the Mysteries

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David,
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said,
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house,
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD;
you have also spoken of the house of your servant
for a long time to come:
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!

“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever,
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made
concerning your servant and his house,
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say,
‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel,
who said in a revelation to your servant,
‘I will build a house for you.’
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth;
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant
that it may be before you forever;
for you, Lord GOD, have promised,
and by your blessing the house of your servant
shall be blessed forever.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R. (Lk 1:32b) The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“I will not enter the house where I live,
nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“If your sons keep my covenant,
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he prefers her for his dwelling:
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her I will dwell, for I prefer her.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Gospel: Mark 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

NAB

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There are probably infinite lessons to be learned and gleaned from today’s Gospel, but let us focus on two of them for the moment.

Firstly, God hides and conceals Mysteries only in order to reveal them with romantic and striking effect—nestling Jesus in the womb of a mother in order to show His humility—giving up His breath on the cross and, for three days, leaving His disciples to wonder if they’d been wrong about Him, in order to display His power over even that Death which cruelly awaits everyone. He couldn’t have shown His power over Death unless He had allowed Himself to be temporarily concealed by that same Death.

He hides in order to show—He conceals in order to reveal. (For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible). He calls upon humble, everyday items in every Jewish home (a lamp, and a lampstand) to communicate this. Why, He asks, would anyone in his right mind light a lamp only to stuff it in a kitchen cabinet where it will be of no benefit to anyone? No—God conceals in order to reveal.

What a wise Love.

Secondly, Christ is inviting us to press in closer, listen a little harder, through this Gospel message, this parable. He even hides the truth inside these words, disguising the ineffable in the imperfect package of mere human language.

He says that ‘to the one who has, more will be given’—to her who hungers and thirsts after God, the most will be revealed about how little everything and everyone else can to do satiate her.  To her who has the deepest ache, the strongest longing, the most will be revealed about just how little everything and everyone else can do to relieve her. And her hunger will only grow as her knowledge of God grows. She will realize there are ‘unscaled heights above, and unplumbed depths beneath, and untraversed spaces all around’ (MacLaren’s Exposition of the Holy Scripture, Mark Chap. 4)—He will conceal Himself from her, and she will see more of Him because of it.

Ask God for more hunger and thirst—for a deeper longing.

photo credit

Audrey Assad is a wife, mother and musician. You can find out more about her here.

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