How poorly I understand sometimes, Lord! You work wonders in my life, You bless me richly, yet I still doubt Your love for me! Thank You Jesus, for loving me, forgiving me, and offering me more opportunities! Amen.
"Do you still not understand?" Jesus asks in today's Gospel reading. Whenever we sin, or whenever we respond to life in unhealthy ways, it's because we really don't understand what Jesus taught with his words and with his life -- and why he taught it. Thus Jesus said on the cross, "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing." They didn't understand!
When we sin, it's usually because we don't understand the goodness of God's commandments or the underlying love in the teachings of the Church.
We sabotage our lives with bad decisions or addictions, setting ourselves up for failure, chasing away the friends that God has given us, etc., because we don't understand the damage that we're doing to ourselves.
We don't want to love everyone unconditionally, because we don't understand how God loves us. We run from suffering and we reject those who cause us difficulties, because we don't realize the value of embracing our crosses.
We live in non-sacramental marriages, because we don't understand what's missing. Or we live in a valid divorce without an annulment, because we don't know the healing and freedom we experience in the process.
We're disinterested in ministry, because we don't understand what it's like to be God's partner. We go home from Mass unchanged, because we don't really understand what's happening in the Eucharist.
We reject Church teachings that we don't like, because we don't understand what the Church is really teaching. But if we research them with a humble heart, we discover just how good and loving they really are. They are based on scriptures and on love!
Understanding is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It's one of the fruits of reading the Word of God. It's the blessing that comes from listening when we pray. It's a harvest yielded from retreats, spiritual seminars, and parish missions. It's a grace shared in good conversation with Christian friends. But true understanding is not achieved unless it's heard in the heart. For that, we have to act upon the truth.
We see the truth and we forget it. We hear the truth and we remember it. We DO the truth and finally we understand it.