is so much in this gospel that we could spend a whole day discussing
it. So I would like to concentrate on a single word spoken by God the
Father to Peter, James and John...LISTEN.
live in an age of noise and sound—so much sound that it is difficult to
listen. I would suggest that this Lent is a good time to take God's
commandment seriously and to listen.
to each other (and that's not always easy). Listening is an arduous
art. You see most conversations are not conversations at all. Neither
are they monologues where someone waits patiently until the other person
has finished, then says exactly what they would have said if the other
person had not said a word. Or conversations that become debates. A
person does listen to another, but only in order to disagree, find
fault, intercept, destroy.
listen is to give yourself totally. To put yourself into the other's
heart, not just hearing words, but a human person. The problem is, to
listen is to risk. It takes your precious time, often when you can
least afford it when you listen. You take on other people's problems
when you have enough of your own. It means getting involved when you
open yourself to your family, to those around you, those at work. To
listen is really an act of love. It is wonderfully human and splendidly
Christian to be where another can reach out to you, and you share not
words but yourself.
would suggest that during Lent you make time to listen to Christ. This
is the command of the Father from the cloud. Listen to him. This is
what Peter, James and John were ordered to do. Why? Because here it is,
at once, God's Son, and God's revelation.
Paul reminds us in his Letter to the Hebrews in many and various ways,
God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days,
He has spoken to us by a Son. This is not pious poetry. It is profound
is God's revelation to us. He is the point of personal contact between
God and us. How does Jesus speak to us? Vatican II rings loud and
clear. Christ is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks
when the holy scriptures are read in church. Do you believe that? Do
you really believe that when the readers say "This is the word of the
Lord?" How do you listen? As attentively as Moses on Mt. Sinai when he
received the Ten Commandments? As open to God's word as the teenage
Virgin of Nazareth? Do you marvel like His towns people at the words
that fall from Jesus' lips? Or has repetition dulled your appetite, and
Christ is less charismatic than the Kardashians, less exciting Justin
to Jesus is not the same as listening to others. The same intensity,
yes. The same openness, but a greater risk. When the Father told
Peter, James and John to listen to Jesus, He was saying "Obey Him." Do
what He tells you. Follow Him. If you really listen to Jesus in the
proclaimed word, you have a fair chance of hearing Him in your everyday
life. Not a vision, but Jesus speaking to your heart.
truly as anyone you love profoundly speaks to your heart, our God is
not imprisoned in a book, even a book of His own inspiring.
also speaks to us in the world around us. As the psalmist told us, the
heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims His
handiwork. God could fashion nothing unless it imaged some perfection
of His. There is no blade of grass, no flower, no mountain range, no
sea that does not speak of God. If I miss their message, it is because I
am not tuned into God. I am not listening.
also speaks to us in our loneliness, our pain, our suffering, when
nothing is going right. Only by listening in desperation do we hear God
speak. Not explaining, not defining, not justifying. Only saying,
trust Me. I am closer to you now than ever before. Every Gethsemane is
My garden. Every Calvary is My Cross.
you want to do something for Lent, if you want to share in the dying
and rising of Jesus, forget the diet, the giving up. Simply listen.
Listen to one another.
Listen to Christ in the proclaimed word,
And listen to the word of God in the world around you.