November 18, 2018 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
November 18, 2018
Fr. George Smiga
Only God has complete knowledge. Only God knows everything. This truth is given dramatic expression in today’s gospel. Jesus is describing to his disciples how things will be at the end of the time. He is telling of the glorious coming of the Son of Man in the clouds. After he finishes his description he says, “But of the day and the hour no one knows, not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Jesus is telling us that no one knows when the world will end. We might be surprised to hear that the angels do not know. But we are very surprised to hear that the Son does not know. Jesus is saying that he himself does not know when the end of time will come. Only the Father knows.
Only God has complete knowledge. Only God knows everything. This might seem an abstract reflection, removed from our lives. But it is not, because if only God has complete knowledge, then clearly our knowledge is incomplete. No matter how educated we may be, no matter how wise we are, regardless of how much experience we have, we never see the whole picture. Our knowledge is partial and limited. Accepting this truth about ourselves can change the way that we live. It can make us more patient and humble people.
There might be someone in your family or at work who truly is a frustration for you. That person can be harsh, prejudiced, unreasonable. If we can remember that we will never fully know what is in that person’s heart, that we can never fully see the hurts they have endured or the burdens that they carry, it can make us more patient in dealing with them. Now this does not mean that we must accept everything that they say, forget that they should change, or endure whatever abuse they might throw our way. But if we can remember that we do not know everything, it can give us some space to breathe in their presence.
We might be deeply disappointed by a disastrous decision made by a son, daughter, or friend. If we can remember that we never fully understand the motives of any person, never fully see what they dream or how they love, we can find more flexibility. This may allow us to find a way forward in our relationship. This does not mean that we have to pretend that we agree with their decision. But if we can remember that we do not know everything, it can make us less angry and judgmental.
We might be stunned by the harsh political views of some member of our family or a friend, astonished at the way that anger and hatred pour out when a current issue in our country is mentioned. If we can remember that we will never know the source of that anger, or why the hatred is there, it can make us humble. This does not mean that we agree with the harsh opinions or prejudice. But remembering that our knowledge is limited permits us to defuse our own anger and perhaps find some common ground between us.
Only God knows everything. Our knowledge is incomplete. We are not God. Today’s readings invite us to remember that.