Whenever someone ignores the obvious we wonder what they are thinking. Are they worried about some new threat? Is someone sick in their family? Or are they simply not paying attention? In Jesus' day, people had to be very aware of their surroundings. Without benefit of newspapers or television, they paid attention to the sun, wind and weather conditions in order to protect themselves and their few possessions. They knew when to take shelter, how to safeguard their livestock and when and how to travel safely.
Jesus used people's everyday experience to teach. If everyone, even the poor, knew how to read the signs of nature, why couldn't or wouldn't they listen to him? Jesus was especially hard in this regard on Jewish leaders who ignored the burdens of the poor to protect their own resources and their interpretation of the Torah. Much of the resistance Jesus faced continues to haunt contemporary believers.
How to live an integrated Gospel life in a society obsessed with possessions and individual rights is a constant challenge to those who profess to be disciples of Jesus. Further, and more dangerously, when societies are willing to sacrifice the health and education of the poor to protect the wealth of a few, Christians are compelled to act as Pope Francis insists:
Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons...We all have to think if we can become a little poorer. (Pope Francis)Today, look around and listen to your environment.
What makes it difficult for you to pay attention to your surroundings and the cries of the poor?