March 8, 2020 – Second Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/030820.cfm)
Once a man approached a priest and asked, “Father, how come God seems so absent and silent? Why do we not feel and hear him anymore listening to us as He used to be? Why does God no longer speak to us His people?” The priest sadly replied, “It is not that God no longer speaks to His people. But rather, nowadays no one can stoop down low enough to listen to Him. No one… can stoop down low enough… to listen to Him.”
Once in a while (if not most often) we experience the absence and silence of God in our lives. Though we trust and believe that God is with us since the Lord is with us, we live through moments in life where God and Jesus seems distant and silent. But is God really no longer listening and talking to us? Has he really abandoned us? Or is it we become too noisy, self-preoccupied, or high and far enough to listen to Him?
During this Lenten Season, if you happen to have some time, consider to watch the movie: “Silence” – a movie about Jesuits missionaries during the time of Japanese persecution of Christians. The movie is surely not a silent movie, but full of messages to hear and listen. Though it is called “Silence”, rest assured you will hear a lot from it and perhaps in many ways be moved and disturbed by it.
Because among its many messages, the movie is really an invitation for us Christians, those who follow and believe in Jesus Christ to listen to Jesus in silence. A call for us Christian to Listen to Jesus in Silence. A call to Silence for us in order to hear and listen intently God’s will for us in life. Only in silence, only in experiencing God’s seeming silence and absence, and not in the noise of our hearts and others that we can discern and recognize God’s will for us through Christ. Only in God’s Silence that we can experience God’s glory and our salvation.
In our gospel today, we hear that the apostles heard God saying to them: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Their experience of the Lord’s transfiguration has the same very simple message: Jesus is His beloved Son – God’s gift and message to us, so we must acknowledge and listen to Him intently. And we can only do this – acknowledge and listen to Jesus – like the apostle, not in noise, pre-occupation, and ambitions of our hearts, but in the shadow of God’s silence and absence. Only then by experiencing God’s silence that we recognize God’s glory in Lord’s transfiguration, transformation in our lives and hear intently God’s will for us now. In other words, “Be Quiet (Don’t be noisy) for the Lord is with us and He has something to say for us. Huwag kang maingay, Narito sya at may sasabihin sa atin. Ayaw’g saba. Ania siya ug naay isulti nato. Di pag-gahud, Ari siya. May inug-hambal sa aton.
Pope Francis once said: “People listen to radio, to TV and to gossips throughout the day, but do we take a bit a time each day to listen to Jesus?” True indeed, we spend a lot of time listening to and knowing about others. We also may spend some time listening to and knowing about ourselves. But do we spend some time to listen to and know Jesus? Listening to Jesus entails praying low enough in and with God’s silence. Only in silent prayer, we can recognize Him and listen to Him.
So next time you find yourself restless and sleepless at night, stop counting sheep. Talk to the shepherd. Pray then silently and listen to Him for the Lord has something to say and then you will hear what He got to say to you and for you.
As you hear it, So may it be. Sya nawa. Hinaut pa unta. Kabay pa. Amen.
Shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR – a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary based in South Korea