July 12, 2020 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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As we struggle with the day to day challenges CoVID 19 virus has posted us, perhaps we also wonder what would be the best guidance and advice God is giving us at this time. Life amidst CoVID 19 virus has been constricted and stressful. We find ourselves mostly reactive to the reality that we think about whether our actions are in sync with God’s will and plan. So, what would be the best way for us to be always online with God?
Our Scripture and Christian faith tradition have a very simple instruction: LISTEN TO HIM.
We remember many instances in Jesus life that the challenge of us listening to Him has been clearly given importance. At the beginning of His public ministry to proclaim the good news of salvation, Jesus said: “Today these words come true as you listen.” Also during the Lord’s transfiguration, the disciples heard God instructing them: “This is my beloved Son, whom my favor rests. Listen to Him”. And in our gospel today, in telling and explaining to us the parable of the sower, Jesus challenges us “Whoever has ears ought to hear”.
Our listening is indeed crucial to our faith-life. By listening to Jesus – God’s word for us, as our first reading suggest, we are part of and in line with God’s work of salvation and can benefit from the fruits of His labor. Paul reminds us that being connected with Christ assures us that “the suffering now are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed.” Jesus in our gospel made known to us how blessed and privilege we are for our faith makes us see and hear what “many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Same way as any loving relationship, good listening and communication are very important to our faith relationship with God.
Simple as it maybe, but we do have some problems with listening. Experience teaches us that in life it is not always easy to listen. We may have heard what has been said but we may have not listened to it. Or, it could happen that the other have not yet fully said what he wants to say or we may not yet have fully listen to him, we are already thinking of what and how are we going to respond to the other. It could also happen that while we are listening to the other, there are a lot of noisy things and concerns that we are also listening to and hearing with. It is very true that we do have limited listening span and selective hearing. Meaning, we listen only in our limited ways, and listen to what we want to hear from what was being said. That is why selective and limited listening or not enough listening would resort to conflict, tensions and misunderstandings. We heard what has been said but do we listen to it? We may have heard it but are we listening to what has been said?
For instance, our gospel today is not anymore new to us. We are already familiar and have known about the Parable of the Sower. Surely many times we have already heard this parable. In fact, of all the parables that Jesus have already told us, the parable of the sower is among the few parables which he gave an explanation. True we may already heard this parable before and may have already understood its meaning. But did we listen to it? Are we listening to it? If we don’t see and hear it calling us to listen, then we are not listening and don’t get it.
Long before it was written and read, God’s words are primarily spoken and proclaimed to us and are meant to be heard and listen by us. The mission of Jesus is to speak, preach and proclaim the God’s Word, the Good News of Salvation. Meaning, our rightful response to God’s Word being preached to us is first to listen to it. Only through our listening that we could understand, and in effect benefit and enjoy the fruits of God’s salvation. Like David, if we want to taste and see God’s glory and salvation, we should learn how to listen intently to God’s Message and Plans through Jesus, His word. For those who listen well, they bear much fruits.
Jesus has thus already done and doing His part in Proclaiming God’s words. Ours now is to do our part in listening and obeying God’s Word. Let anyone of us then who have ears: Listen, and heed what we hear.
Amidst our now noisy worrisome and depressing pandemic world, may we be more sensitive to listen God’s message & plans, thus be guided and inspired to rightly respond to its challenges for our trying times. Amen.
(By: Fr. Aphelie Mario Masangcay CSsR, a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary stationed in Gwangju South Korea, though now still stranded in Cebu until further notice for available flights.)