Are You Listening?

Are You Listening?

by Jessica De Luca

Following the Epiphany of our Lord, our weekly readings have reminded us that God speaks to each one of us. You may recall the story of Samuel hearing the voice of the Lord, or Jesus calling his disciples in Galilee. Entering now the fourth week of Ordinary Time, we are being asked more directly – Have you heard God’s call? Are you listening? This may seem like a daunting question. In my own journey of faith, I had often struggled to hear God’s call, even at times when I especially hoped for God’s guidance. With help from a friend, I realized that what I lacked in my relationship with God were moments of silence. Although I found the silence fruitful, it was not an easy solution. In fact, finding time to sit with God in silence each day requires discipline. As our second reading tells us, our anxieties can stop us from making space for God in our daily lives. “O that you would listen to the voice of the Lord. Do not harden your hearts!” Along with the readings, Psalm 95 challenges us to act. Are you listening? If you have heard God’s call, how will you respond? When we do hear God calling, we are propelled into action. All of us are instructed to live God’s message through our words and deeds, everyday. As we draw near to World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, let us keep in mind those who have heard God’s call, and serve the Lord as Sisters, Deacons, Brothers, Priests, and Lay Ministers. May we all grow to know God by opening our hearts to hear God’s voice. Amen.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Deuteronomy 18.15-20
  • Psalm 95
  • 1 Corinthians 7.32-35
  • Mark 1.21-28

Prepare the Way of the Lord!

Prepare the Way of the Lord!

by Jessica De Luca

Advent is a time of preparing – preparing to celebrate the coming of the Lord. If you are like me, a staple in preparing for any event in life begins with making a to-do list; Christmas is no exception. I am always sure to have a list made, sometimes even before December rolls around. It would be fair to say that my typical to-do list would not include a “pause and reflect” bullet point; if it did, it would likely show up somewhere near the bottom, maybe even as an afterthought. “Pause and reflect” is however, what we are told to do as we enter this second week of Advent. Today’s scripture readings remind us to “prepare the way of the Lord” by preparing ourselves. What a beautiful and well-needed reminder! It is easy to be overwhelmed in this season by the seemingly endless lists of to-dos. Preoccupied by the things to get done, we often fail to pay attention to what is most important: consciously thinking about how we are going to prepare for Christ to enter into our lives. As the readings tell us, preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord must include an examination of our conscience. We are called to seek forgiveness for our wrong doings and are told to “strive” to let Christ find us each “at peace”. This can be a real challenge for us, especially if there are sins we are not ready to acknowledge or purposely ignore. Encouraging us to spend time in self-reflection and repentance is the beautiful image of Christ offered in our first reading. Christ is described as a shepherd that feeds His flock, carries the lambs, and leads His sheep. We know that the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Our second reading tells us He is “patient” with us too. Inevitably, by pausing and reflecting, by examining our conscience and being at peace, we are faced with a decision to act. Preparing the way of the Lord includes thinking about what we can be doing better in our lives. Perhaps this is something as simple as adding more prayer time to your day, or helping a person in need. In this next week, may we take a break from the hustle and bustle and spend time thinking about how we can better prepare ourselves. Let us all make a to-do list for the Lord, so he may fill our lives in a new and deeper way this Advent season.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Isaiah 40.1-5, 9-11
  • Psalm 85
  • 2 Peter 3.28-14
  • Mark 1.1-8