As a second look at the gospel reading for this coming Sunday from Luke 22: 15-21. The plotters against Jesus address Jesus with false flattery saying, “And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status.” These are words of false praise and flattery on the lips of these deceitful men but they carry in them a deep truth. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis gives us the more literal translation of this verse from the Greek as being: “No one worries you because you do not look into the face of persons.” To look into the face of someone is to notice if they are male or female, what race or culture they come from, whether they are a friend or stranger and whether their countenance is pleasing to you. It is to show partiality. Jesus shows no partiality because the Father shows no partiality. St. Paul affirms for us, “There is no partiality with God.” (Rom 2,11)
It is difficult for us to be impartial in our judgments. We naturally favor our friends and family and judge harshly our enemies. We certainly do not apply the same standards to everyone and we do not share with them the same goods. We think well of people who share our same values and beliefs but we often think less of those who disagree with us or hold contrary opinions. We embrace our friends but we shy away from strangers. Jesus is not that way. Jesus looks upon everyone with mercy, even those who are trying to entrap him. Jesus is not concerned with superficialities, he gets right to the heart of things. Jesus doesn’t look at faces, he looks at hearts. Jesus is not fooled when we put on a good face, he wants to see a good and sincere heart. Jesus shares this divine attribute with the Father who we are told in 1Samuel 16: 7, “Not as man sees does God see, because the Lord looks into the heart.”
We are wasting our time if we are trying to “put on a good face” before the Lord because he will not be fooled by our posturing. The Lord knows what is in our hearts. He wants a conversion of our hearts, from stony hearts to hearts of flesh, from hardened hearts to contrite hearts, from closed hearts to open hearts. We all need work on our hearts. We most importantly need “the love of God (which) has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Rom 5,5) We need God’s grace in our hearts, his indwelling Spirit of love.
We often pray to the Lord, “Oh Lord, show us your face.” God made it clear to Moses that we cannot see the face of God, “But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives.” (Ex 33,20) In Jesus we finally have the opportunity to look on the face of God, to see the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1,15). We also have the opportunity to see into the heart of God when a soldier’s lance opens the side of Jesus and we behold his Sacred Heart, pierced for our sins, pouring out life, a heart fashioned in the fullness of love, a heart which loves us unto the end.
We need to look into the Sacred Heart of Jesus so that we might refashion our own hearts in the image of that divine heart of love. We need to rest in that heart of compassion and love. Jesus looked into the hearts of his enemies and saw malice. What will he see when he looks into our hearts?