Matthew 9:32-37

There is a surprising contrast in today’s gospel reading between the way the ordinary people responded to Jesus’ healing ministry and the way the Pharisees responded. The people said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’. The Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils’. The people saw God at work in what Jesus was doing; the Pharisees saw Satan at work in Jesus’ healing work. It is hard to imagine a more contrasting set of responses. It brings home to us that when people look at the same phenomenon, they can see it very differently. The people, in contrast to the Pharisees, were attuned to the presence and action of God in Jesus. The gospel reading invites us to ask ourselves, ‘To what extent am I alert to the presence of God all around me, especially in the good that other people may be doing?’ We can be prone to seeing what is lacking in some situations and to miss the good that is also there. We can be better at naming what is wrong than what is right. We can be more attuned to noticing evil than good. While never being blind to evil, sin and failure, the gospel reading encourages us to be open to the ways that the Lord is at work in our lives and in the lives of others. The Lord himself was sensitive to the good in others, even when they failed to see it for themselves, and others failed to see it. We need something of the Lord’s generous way of seeing, especially in these times when the negative can be highlighted to the detriment of everything else.