Tag Archives: Listen

1st Sunday of Advent: Take the message to heart

Marley's Ghost

Study:  When have I been swift to respond to the needs of others?  When have I been slow?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the clarity of sight to perceive the real needs within my reach.

Serve:  Don’t wait…do!

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Advent

A Christmas Carol

Part I: Marley’s Warning

Every year I enjoy rereading the holiday story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  I watch as many different movie and drama adaptations as I can, and I find in this simple tale much wisdom and insight.

The story recounts the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable old man who is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley.  Marley informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts who will show him the error of his ways.  During the visits we discover the story of Scrooge’s life, feeling both pity and anger at the circumstances and choices that have shaped him.  As Scrooge slowly changes, he finally discovers the joy and spirit of Christmas – just in time for Christmas Day.

The ghost of Marley begins this amazing process.  Marley is a wretched creature, wrapped in bandages and shackled by chains and heavy money boxes.  His words to Scrooge are direct and without comfort:  he must change his ways or suffer a fate worse than Marley’s.

Marley reminds Scrooge that the business of life is far greater than the work in their money counting house:
   “Mankind was my business.
   The common welfare was my business;
   charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence
   were all my business.
   The dealings of my trade
   were but a drop of water
   in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

This warning speaks to us as well.  Every day we pass through life amid opportunities to serve and love others.  Yet preoccupation can take us away from the deeper issues of life, separating us from the very people and events that can lead us into blessed happiness.

As we prepare our hearts during this Advent season, may we take Marley’s warning to heart.  We, too, must journey through this life, reaching out to those placed on our path.  May we be vigilant, waiting for the day when Jesus will return.  May we share the gift of our lives, anticipating the Christmas joy that awaits us.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on November 25, 2014.


31st Sunday of the Year: Listen, Learn and Live. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – 31st Sunday of the Year

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.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


23rd Sunday of the Year: Watch, Look and Listen

Study:  When was a time when I failed to speak up?  When was a time I failed to listen?

Pray:  Call upon the Lord for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to take heart to the words of another.

Serve:  Is there someone in my life right now that I am called to speak to?  Or listen to?

Mass Readings – 23rd Sunday of the Year

Do you remember the Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that we used to hear as children? It is a simple yet profound tale. A young boy is given the responsibility to watch over the animals in the event of an attack from the wolves. Bored of his duties he calls out “Wolf!” and laughs as the area villagers come running.

Delighted with his game the boy cries “Wolf!” a few more times, each time getting the attention of the people. Finally disgusted with his actions they no longer respond, even when a real wolf shows up and attacks the child; his failure to keep watch prevented his message from being heard.

In the first reading today Ezekiel says that being a prophet is a lot like being a watchman. The watchman was responsible for protecting the people from bandits and wild animals. The watchman was required to stay alert, remaining vigilant and ready to call out in a moment’s notice should danger arise.

If danger came, and the watchman failed to alert the people, then the watchman was at fault. But if the watchman called the alarm and no one came, then the people were at fault. Simply put, if the watchman does his duty and no one comes, then those who hear the warning and fail to respond are held accountable.

Likewise, anyone who hears a word of encouragement or guidance and fails to respond is also accountable. Ezekiel, the Psalm, and the Gospel today all point out that there are times when we must open our hearts to messages that we may not want to hear. We may be tempted to “harden our hearts.”

Let’s face it. No one wants to be told what to do. No one wants to be disciplined or chastised; we love our freedom and independence too much for that! Yet there are times when the Church is empowered to keep watch, lest members of the community drift into choices and actions which are harmful and destructive.

This is not easy! The scriptures today alert us to the fact that there are moments when we may be asked to either give or receive a hard word out of love. We might have to give it – to help another from making a mistake. We might have to receive it – and allow another to help us from falling into trouble. Keeping watch is never easy, but without the support of each other, we run the risk of a far greater harm.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Listen to God! Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast – Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Daily Mass Readings

The prophet Jeremiah calls us to listen to God – opening our hearts to the Lord’s word – and the Psalm reminds us not to harden our hearts.  May the the words of Christ inspire us to draw near and allow God’s grace to work in our lives.

listen