“For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” (Lk. 8:17-18)
There was a renowned patriarch who was not only the spiritual leader of a huge city but also the governor. He had his majestic palace as a governor outside of the church while his episcopal throne was in the church. When there was a major feast in the church, he always celebrated liturgy wearing his episcopal vestments, and everyone approached and spoke with him very respectfully. On the other hand, when there was a national feast, this man always used to pass through the city with his magnificent chariots.
One day, he was heading to his palace with his royal procession. All of a sudden, he noticed an old man starring at him. The governor ordered the procession to stop, came out of his chariot and asked the old man saying, “Why are you staring at me?” The old man responded very calmly, “I am staring at you because I do not know whether you are the patriarch of our city or the governor?” The governor answered that he is the patriarch and the governor at the same time, and if the old man doubts that, he can visit the governor’s palace and see his glory. If the old man doubts the patriarch’s clerical rank, he can go and see the patriarch’s throne in the church. Then, the old man asked the governor saying, “And so, when Christ comes with His glory, is He going to look at you as a patriarch or as a governor?”
Today’s Gospel reading and today’s story are about hidden things. Our Lords says that nothing is hidden that will not be revealed. In our lives, we all have hidden things or secrets. We do not want to share or say our secrets out loud. However, we all have a few trustworthy people around us whom we trust and tell some of our secrets. For example, we might share some of our goals with our parents or with our friends who can give us a valuable piece of advice. Moreover, we may share some of our achievements with our beloved and make them happy. Christ himself always used to teach and preach all around him. Yet, Christ sometimes revealed some hidden things only to a few of his disciples because not all disciples were ready to listen to him. During His transfiguration, He took only three of His disciples, Peter, James and John, and went up to the top of Mount Tabor and was transfigured before them.
In our lives, we can have secrets or choose to not share some news with everyone. However, in our spiritual lives, we need to share everything and have no secrets from God. Whatever we keep from each other is definitely known by God, because He reads our minds and hearts. In addition, if we hide our secrets from God, then we have nothing to pray for or ask from God. Prayer itself is a confession. God wants us to open our hearts as much as we can and confess our sins to Him, because nothing is hidden that will not be revealed nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Moreover, it is very important also to pay attention to how we listen to the Lord as today’s Gospel proclaims.
In today’s story, the patriarch, who was also the governor of the city, missed his call many years ago. He served God and his people. There is seemingly nothing wrong with that. However, today’s Gospel commands us to pay attention to how we listen, for those who have, more will be given and those who do not have, even what they seem to have, will be taken away. The old man’s statement that, “When Christ comes with His glory, is He going to look at you as a patriarch or as a governor,” made the governor pay attention to his life, just as in today’s Gospel reading Christ bids us saying, “Pay attention to how you listen.”
After listening to the old man’s question, from that day on, he only ran his Patriarchal duties. Today the wise old man asks us, “When Christ comes with His glory, how is He going to look at you?” Let us ask ourselves: do I have secrets from God, am I righteous enough to look at God and ask Him to make me an inheritor of the Kingdom? Does my life, my acts and deeds reflect today’s Gospel? Like the Governor do I need to spend all my life to rebalance my priorities before God? Just as today’s patriarch got the point that for nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, so also, we come to understand that when we pray, we need to open our hearts before God and have no secrets from Him. Moreover, just as today’s patriarch paid attention to the old man’s words, so also, we today pay attention to the Gospel and live according to it.
We ask God to open our minds and hearts to not have any hidden things from him. We pray and ask him to give us the wisdom and the ability to listen to His word, so that we may understand the Gospel and live according to it. As the patriarch’s ears were opened, we also hope that our ears are opened. Christ is within us, and we are His servants. We believe that by paying attention to him, we will be given more from our Lord, to whom is due glory and honor now and always and unto the ages of ages amen.