Do We Hear Him Now?
In our Gospel this week from St. Mark, we hear of the reaction of the resi-dents of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, as they received His teaching. At first, they were "astonished" when they listened to the Lord's preaching. They heard what Jesus was telling them, and it made an impact on them...but it didn't change their lives.
I am reminded of my relationship with my father when I was a teenager growing up. He would give me some stern advice on a particular subject or about an action I was about to undertake and the pros and cons of doing so. (I don’t mention specifics here because there are several examples that I could give that could be embarrassing to me and my family.) I was hearing what he said. But I was not heeding his advice. And I suffered the conse-quences.
St. Mark is telling us that the residents of Nazareth heard, and they per-ceived the truth of Christ's words, but they refused to welcome that truth into their hearts. This refusal, St Mark tells us, is a "lack of faith."
God is always speaking to us, and we usually hear him - in our consciences, in the teachings of the Church, in the words of the Bible - but oftentimes we don't heed what we hear. Do we hear how to lead a meaningful and abun-dant life rather than stunting our spiritual growth by following the easy path of comfort and self-indulgence? Do we hear and adhere to the truths that Christ gives us, or do we turn to go with the flow of popular culture?
What has God been saying to us that we have been resisting? Is it having something to do with a relationship - someone we need to forgive, or ask forgiveness from? Maybe bringing some long-hidden sins to confession. Maybe some part of Church teaching that the world around us disagrees with, and which we have not accepted or tried to understand more deeply. Maybe an interior nudge from the Holy Spirit to go deeper in our prayer life, to take a step towards our true vocation, or to make a change of direction in some other way that has long been weighing on our hearts.
To be a true Christian we need to both hear and make a decent effort to heed God’s word in our lives.
Peace and Blessings,