More from Matthew

Readings from the last few days have been in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 8-12. There are many stories here, of healings, of miracles, of teachings, of callings to ordinary outcasts, of challenges to religious leaders.
The theme I see in this read-through is the intensely interactive nature of Jesus’ encounters. He heals those who seek him out. And those who pursue Him are granted the gifts of His presence.
His process in individualized and relational. This is problematic for me, having realized that I actually ,have a hard time with intimate, interactive relationships. My relations tend to be more transactional and I tend to regard people more as resources.
I need to learn better how to be with people.

The people who experience the grace of Christ and His healing are the ones who seek Him out. By faith, they initiate contact and relationships. They reach out, perhaps having faith that they are not constructing God, but that God has come to them.
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This then is a direct challenge to my initial mentality. I want God to initiate and pursue me, but maybe it just doesn’t work that way. Maybe the way of faith, of spirituality, of closeness with the Creator is and always has been that Humans must seek Him out.
Which makes sense, I suppose. If I believe God to be eternal and omnipresent, filling every corner of creation, then He is already present. And especially if I believe the Biblical narrative, then I see that, really, in so many ways, Christ has already made the first, second and third moves and now it really is my turn to get over myself and pay attention to Him.
That smarts.
But okay. I can flow.

But I’m still confused about why Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate,” and “The way is hard that leads to life.”
And confused about why, a few chapters later, He talks about having ears to hear. Summarizing Matthew 12, I read that some people can recognize God wherever He is and some cannot and that even this is a grace given by God.
But why is this grace given to some and not others?
Why is the way to life narrow and hard, and not wide and easily accessible?
Why is the most important relationship any person could ever have so shrouded in mystery?

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