The Heart Knows (Matthew 21:33-43)
“Why didn’t I show up at the hospital sooner; it was so obvious he was dying. Why didn’t I go then? Why did I wait?”, a friend asked me over the telephone years after his father had died.
In a way, my father said something similar in the days after my mother had died. He said, ”I didn’t think she would die. I didn’t see this happening.” He repeated that several times and all I could do was stare back at him and say nothing because how could he have not seen this was going to happen. She had been bed-ridden and largely non-communicative for over a year before she died. And yet, I had done something similar. In the years before her death, after she had fallen and hit her head several times, once landing in the hospital for several weeks, it took reading her medical record and the words, ”traumatic brain injury” to force me to understand what had happened. As a healthcare professional reading those words, I put my head in my hands and thought, ”how could I have not recognized that. Of course she has traumatic brain injury. What in the world was I thinking?”
I told my distressed friend that day when he called me that sometimes the heart knows what the mind cannot accept. If we can be honest with ourselves, somewhere deep within us we often know the truth. Sometimes the truth comes too fast for us to handle. Sometimes the truth means we have to change our beliefs or the way we live our life, and so, like the tenants in today's reading, we ignore the truth. We beat one another (or ourselves) up. Sometimes, like in today’s Gospel, we kill. All to not hear or listen to the truth. But the truth has a way of persevering and outlasting all the ways we try to avoid it. Jesus' message of forgiveness, love and acceptance of all endures beyond our actions and unwillingness to accept it.