Life challenges us with difficulties and distractions, temptations and turmoil. How do we find the strength and wisdom to navigate? Jesus offers the answer when he says that the storms of life are securely faced when we build our lives on the rock of faith.
Wisdom – the ability to see the big picture – is a quality that helps us experience life to the fullest. Through prayer, reflection and action we can open our hearts to this gift of the Holy Spirit and offer our lives for one another.
Both the prophet Malachi and Jesus exhort the people to take to heart God’s commands. As we Listen, Learn and Live we grow as disciples; may we draw near to the Lord, the Church and one another…listening for the wisdom that will help us put our faith into practice.
2nd Reading – The word of God we hear is at work within our hearts.
Gospel – Listen to those in authority, but watch out for what they do.
How do we learn? How do we integrate life long lessons and grow? The process generally works in two steps. First, we listen – absorbing new information and teasing out ideas, concepts, distinctions, and insights. Second, we apply our learning through action as we internalize the information and use it in our daily experiences.
In the first reading the prophet Malachi speaks bluntly: we are called to hear God’s word, take it to heart and apply it to our lives. This is particularly pressing for the priests to whom these words are directed. They are the examples and teachers of the people.
The Psalmist helps us keep our focus. In the midst of the distractions and frenzy that can surface in our lives we turn to the Lord as the source of inner peace. When our soul is longing for calm, serenity and gentleness we turn once again to Jesus Christ.
St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they received the word of God, and this hearing occurred through the gentle and loving example of others. Now it is their turn to pass on the gift of faith through the example of their lives.
Finally, Jesus distinguishes between the teaching and example of the scribes and Pharisees. The people are called to listen closely to what they say, but be very guarded in following their example. The point: the lessons we take to heart must be rooted in the Lord.
So today…what’s the message that God offers you? What do you need to hear? Through prayer, Scriptures, sacraments, fellowship and daily life we continue to encounter life-long lessons in faith. Our invitation is to listen, and then put it into practice.
Ezekiel and Jesus point out the power of our actions in the spiritual life, and Paul reminds us that our actions are shaped when we take on the attitude of Jesus Christ. It’s practical advice that illustrates our ongoing need to focus on the Lord as we put our faith into practice.