“Whoever has ears ought to hear.” – Mt. 11:15
Who of us hasn’t at some time been quietly minding our own business when we hear a voice shout “Catch!” and see a ball or some other object speeding toward us? Natural, deep instincts come into play—and we either catch the object or get hit by it.
The Gospel today is enigmatic. Scholars themselves are mixed in their interpretations, from the notion that the violent have always exerted force to obstruct the kingdom of God to the suggestion that only those with passion and a sense of urgency are able to take hold of it.
What if we allow our reflection on the passage to depend on the final line: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Perhaps we make too much of Advent as a time of waiting and not enough as a time of watching and listening for the sudden shout, “Catch!” Here. Now. The kingdom is in our midst. Seize it.
Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus tells us, “the lame walk, the blind see, the poor hear good news.” What more are we waiting for? Sometimes we seem to “discern” ourselves right past the moment of opportunity and on past the moment of grace, rather than see and hear the all-too-obvious signs of the reign of God being offered us—a hurt that needs healing, an injustice that demands righting, an offense calling for forgiveness. Don’t wait. Don’t squander another moment being too careful, too cautious. Catch! Here it is, in front of you. Whoever has ears ought to hear.