Reflection on the Readings

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Ronny standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small American flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year-old had
been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly,

“Good morning, Ronny.”

“Good morning, Father,” he replied, still focused on the plaque. “Father, what is this?”

The pastor replied, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Ronny’s voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked, “Which service, the 9:00 or the 10:30?”

How we listen can make a big difference.

How do you listen to God?
Where in your life does God speak to you?

The easy answer should be “church”. The reality, however, is that God speaks to you most often wherever you are. And unless you’re the sacristan at the parish, chances are most of that time you’re not anywhere near a church. Friends, God speaks to us where we are, in the midst of fulfilling—or sometimes shirking—our vocation.

  • In the eyes of our loved ones, God draws us with the summons to love.
  • In the requests of coworkers and the needs of friends, God calls us to generosity, compassion, patience.
  • In the grip of our enemies, God challenges us to forgive.
  • In the encounter with strangers, God invites us to see Christ.

We might wonder: Is there ever a time when God doesn’t speak to us?

If God does offer relentless opportunities for dialogue—divine invitation and our responsive action—then it’s clear that if today we didn’t hear God’s voice, it’s our hearts that are to blame and not God’s initiative.

Like the fellow with the demon in our gospel this Sunday, we can listen to the unclean spirits or to the voice of Jesus spoken in His Word, in our conscious, and in our lives.

  • They’re not compatible, so we must choose.
  • Both seek the place of ultimate authority in our lives.
  • We can’t entertain both and play Ping-Pong with our attention.

Friends, the truth is, if God hasn’t spoken to us today, it’s time to take an inventory of the spirits that are doing all the talking.

Quote of the Week

Do not go in pursuit of God outside yourself. You will only become distracted, and you won’t find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.

Saint John of the Cross