Listening to God

Reading 1 – DT 18:15-20
Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
Reading 2 – 1 COR 7:32-35
Gospel MK 1:21-28

When God speaks, He reveals Himself. Listening, an essential element in any relationship, is of utmost importance with God. Unfortunately, our busy lives, jobs, relationships, technology, media etc. at times create a barrier between God’s words and our hearts.  Today, we are warned against resistance when God speaks to us, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (PS 95:8).

Listening to God should be our most important priority. It was such revelation which helped Moses understand that a prophet greater than him, Jesus, would be coming into the world: “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen” (DT 18:15).

Paul understood this as well when he spoke of the dangers of anxiety and distractions: “I should like you to be free of anxieties….I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction” (1 COR 7:35).

Listening to God requires that we set aside time to know Him. How? By reading His words and then meditating, praying, and contemplating on them (Lectio Divina).

If we make an effort to listen to God, we, too, can be cured of the unclean spirits clinging to our hearts. We, too, like the demonic man in today’s Gospel, can experience Jesus’ healing power: “Quiet! Come out of him!” (MK 1:25).

God’s Relentless Faithfulness

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 – JON 3:1-5, 10
Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Reading 2 – 1 COR 7:29-31
Gospel – MK 1:14-20

In his faithfulness, God cannot help but warn us when we are in peril of losing our souls. This is the reason why He always sends his prophets to get our attention, as when he sent the prophet Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you” (JON 3:2).

God did likewise with the disciple Paul who warned the Corinthians “I tell you, brothers, the time is running out…For the world in its present form is passing away
(1 COR 7:29, 31).

Of course, no other prophet embodies God’s faithfulness as His Son does. Unlike Jonah, Christ never said no to God. Unlike Paul, He never persecuted Christians. Christ’s whole human existence was a bright light to point us to salvation. It was through that light that He worked wonders as He did for Paul on the road to Damascus – the conversion we celebrate today.

In His Son, we get a glimpse of God’s mercy and fidelity. These are the same graces Christ sought from the disciples when He called them to join Him “Come after me”
(MK 1:17).

By being relentlessly faithful, God is always willing to give us mercy if we ask “Teach me your ways, O Lord” (PS 25:4a). When we do so as the Ninevites did, His hearts bursts with forgiveness “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to the them, he did not carry it out”
(JON 3:10).

It is up to us now to listen to God’s words so we, too, like the Ninevites, the Corinthians, and the apostles cannot only heed the words of God, but also imitate His faithful deeds.