Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews 3:7-14; Psalm 95:6-11 & Mark 1:40-45
Have you ever asked yourself these questions; Am I paying attention? Am I listening to God? Today’s readings speak of a connection between listening to God and the condition of our hearts.
Having said that, I asked myself these questions; Am I moved by pity, by joy or sorrow, or by the wonder of creation? Do I wish to express my love? Do I want to help those who need help? If these things stir my heart, then God is talking to me. If God is talking to me—a response is called for. That is why they call it responsibility. Unfortunately, as we read in Hebrews and the Psalm, many of us are perfectly capable of “hardening our hearts.”
The noise of the world sometimes makes it difficult to hear God. Our jobs, our families, all of the interesting and alluring things around us clamor for attention. It’s no wonder I love to go to the Malvern Retreat House to “reflect, refresh, and rejoice.”
In today’s Gospel narrative, Jesus asks the man cured of leprosy to be quiet about it. That same man can’t or won’t hear Jesus’ request. He does exactly the opposite and “publicized the whole matter.” We need to put ourselves in the cured man’s situation. We have just been given this incredible gift, and this miraculous cure will allow us to return to normal life and no longer be an outcast. How can we possibly keep this to ourselves? We tell everyone about the miracle because, well, it’s all about 'me'. When we are intent on ourselves, focused on our own wants, needs, joys, and sorrows, we do not hear God. It is a hard-hearted way to live.
The Christian life we have chosen to live is demanding. Sometimes it is easier to pretend that we don’t hear God. Sometimes we become lazy, unfocused, and go astray. However, in our hearts, we know that laziness thwarts God’s plan for us. In a scattered, confusing, and sometimes frightening world, only the heart, the place where I hear God, is true.
Question of the Day: Am I paying attention to the voice of God?
Prayer: Lord, help me to be attentive to Your Word, to listen, and to live mindfully. Amen.