As disciples of Jesus Christ, there are tough messages that sometimes we are called to deliver, and sometimes we are called to receive. Through honesty, humility and love we open our hearts to encounter the transforming power of the Lord’s grace in these difficult moments.
As Elijah waits for the Lord he encounters many powerful and turbulent forces, but he recognizes God’s presence in a whispering sound. May his experience remind us to cultivate a listening heart as we seek the Lord in our lives.
Here’s a quick overview of the readings this week:
1st Reading – Abraham recognizes the Lord in the three visitors
Psalm – “who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord”
2nd Reading – Through suffering we participate in the life of Christ
Gospel – Martha & Mary
One way to reflect on these verses is to see how the Lord meets us in the pattern of daily life. Consider:
Hospitality – serving others
Justice – standing up for what is right, true, and good
Suffering – caring for those in need, and bearing our own pain as well
Listening – pausing from our labors to hear the Lord in our lives
We understand that our relationship with God touches multiple aspects of our lives, such as prayer, sacraments, relationships, work, and recreation. The invitation today encourages us to see with our hearts how the Lord is present to us in the current moment.
Does it mean that we serve with a joyful heart? That we swiftly respond to injustice? That we compassionately care for others? That we stop and “smell the roses” in moments of rest & renewal, beauty & blessing? In all these ways we are led back to the Lord, recognizing the gifts God gives us with a grateful heart.
How is God present in your life right now? May our response bring us closer to Christ and one another.
The disciple Apollos was boldly speaking about Jesus when he encountered other disciples who took him aside and fostered his faith. Throughout our lives we are called to speak and listen as we grow closer to the Lord.
Not everyone listened to the words of Jesus, and like the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum we have the opportunity to take the message of Christ to heart…or experience the natural consequences that result.
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.
One of the hardest things about the Christian faith is the giving and receiving of a tough message, the kind of message that hits our hearts and requires us to grow as children of God. Whether it’s something that needs to be said or something that needs to be heard, may we call upon the Lord for the courage we need to let the message of Jesus Christ speak to our souls.