The Gospel St. Luke Ch 10 V.23
At that time” Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, that many Prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him saying: Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the Law? How readest thou? And he answering said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him: Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus: And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell amoun thieves, which stripped him of his raiment: and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance, there came down a certain Priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and, when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him: take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said: He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him: Go and do thou likewise.
All too often, the Gospel lesson prescribed in the Prayer Book Lectionary for a particular Sunday contains some great meaning or message. For example, we might be right to focus our attention on the predominant portion of today’s selection from the Gospel of St. Luke; the parable of the Good Samaritan.
But when we do, we miss the significance of the beginning of this passage; and we likewise risk limiting our understanding of the purpose of the Gospel. “At that time” Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you that many Prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them“; It is at this point that I begin to reflect on two seemingly very different words; “witness”, and “blessed”.
When we talk about being a “witness” to the Gospel, we are saying that we are testifying to or giving evidence of the Truth. We claim to know, either by personal experience or by our perception of the testimony of others, what the Truth is; particularly as it pertains to the Gospel of Our Lord. While we are not be able to say that we were personally present for the events described in the Gospels, still we can offer our own belief in the testimony of those who came before us; whose testimony we have concluded to be without doubt.
In this context, being a Christian “witness” rises above the dictionary definition of the word, “an individual who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing”. Instead, a Christian “witness” also includes the Spiritual, the Mystical; a Christian “witness” includes even those things that are beyond our human ability to understand. A Christian “witness” includes those things that we may have not personally seen. A Christian “witness” includes those things that are based on Faith.
So when we say that we are “witnesses” for Christ, we are declaring our belief in those events that are described in the Gospel; we are proclaiming our belief in all the miracles Jesus performed; we are asserting our Faith in the words that Our Lord spoke, as quoted by the Evangelists; and we are affirming our position as believers along with the early Church, as they were taught by St. Paul and the other Apostles.
But when we do these things, we are not just Christian “witnesses”; rather, we are also “blessed” to be Christian “witnesses”. And the difference here is not just significant, but wonderful as well.
Unlike the word “witness”, the word “blessed” has so many and more significant, meanings. The first definition, and the one which we may find most comfortable, is, “blissfully happy or contented”.
We might be pleased with our current situation; satisfied that we have provided for ourselves in our daily lives and for our future. And we might even be moved to give some credit to God for our success. In this case, we are given to a condition where we think that we have been “blessed”, and that our actions have brought ““happiness and thankfulness”. And while this may be true, it still falls short.
It is Christ himself who gives us the irresistible meaning of the word “blessed”; “At that time” Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you that many Prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them”. Let me give you some other definitions; “divinely or supremely favored; Consecrated, Sacred, Holy, SANCTIFIED”.
As Christians we have been “divinely and supremely favored” to know the Truth. By our Baptism, we have been regenerated into the Body of Christ and “consecrated” to one “Sacred and Holy” purpose; and by the Sacrifice of Christ, we are “sanctified”. As Christians, we are witnesses to things that not even all the Prophets and kings of the Old Testament ever knew. As Christians, we have been well and truly “blessed”.
And if all that makes you feel special, well, it should. But that cannot be where it ends. Because we are special, because we have been chosen and “consecrated” for that “Sacred and Holy purpose”, we must now fulfill our responsibility as Christian witnesses. We must now testify to the Truth.
We must proclaim those Spiritual and Mystical truths which we have been privileged to know. We must proclaim the Gospel of Our Lord, in keeping with the example of the Apostles and Evangelists. We must confess the Faith. We must tell all the world how we have been “blessed” and “Sanctified” by Jesus Christ. And we must be Christian witnesses, showing all who would hear how they may likewise be “blessed”.
At that time” Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, that many Prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them