Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.” (Matthew 13:14.)

In commenting on these verses from today’s Gospel, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“After this, lest any one should suppose his words to be a mere accusation and lest people should say, “Being our enemy he is bringing these charges and calumnies against us,” Jesus introduces the prophet Isaiah. The prophet pronounced the same judgment as Jesus himself: “With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, ‘You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.’” So it is the prophet himself who accuses them with the same precise point. He did not say “You see not” but “You shall indeed see but never perceive.” He did not say “You do not hear” but “You shall indeed hear but never understand.” So they first inflicted the loss on themselves, by stopping their ears, by closing their eyes, by making their heart fat. For they not only failed to hear but also “heard heavily,” and they did this, he said, “lest they should turn for me to heal them.” Thus he described their aggravated wickedness and their determined defection from him. But he said this to draw them closer to him, and to provoke them and to signify that if they would convert he would heal them. It is much as if one should say, “He would not look at me, and I thank him; for if he had given me even a glance, I would straightway have given in.” He spoke in this way to signify how he would wish to have been reconciled. He implied that both their conversion was possible and that upon their repentance they might be saved. It was not for his own glory alone, but for their salvation, that he was doing all things.

For if it had not been his will that they should hear and be saved, he would have remained silent and would not have spoken in parables. But now in this very manner he stirs them up, even by speaking under a veil. “For God does not will the death of the sinner but that he should turn to him and live.” (The Gospel of Matthew: Homily, 45.)

Show favor, O Lord, to your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful
in keeping your commands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen