1 Cor 2: 6-10

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

nor the human heart conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him’—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Seeing with new eyes

A few years ago, I went for my annual eye exam. The optical technician handed me a card with very small print and asked me to read it. Even squinting, I struggled to make out the letters, prompting the technician to ask me gently, “Soooo, do you think it’s time for progressive lenses?”

The physical sense of sight is often associated with qualities such as knowledge or wisdom. In this weekend’s second reading from St. Paul, we hear him admonish the Corinthian Christians for failing to “see.” Turns out, the Corinthians had come to believe that depending on which minister of Christ had baptized each of them, respectively, they now possessed enhanced “wisdom” or “knowledge.” Ironically, their false understanding of baptism, the sacrament of unity in Christ, had resulted in them breaking into factions. With each faction boasting of special knowledge, all now failed to “see.”

Paul reminds them, and us, that it is not by worldly wisdom or knowledge that we are saved, but by embracing our weakness and humility in choosing to accept Christ’s invitation to share his cross. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Paul writes: “Eye has not seen … what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2: 9). Borrowing from St. Ignatius of Loyola, we pray for the ability to “see with new eyes,” that is, the eyes of faith whereby God might transform our selfish pride to humble acceptance of God’s goodness, but without God’s help we cannot see.

—Fr. William T. Sheahan, SJ, is a Jesuit of the Central and Southern Province serving as rector of the Rockhurst Jesuit Community in Kansas City