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CAN WE HEAR THE VOICE OF THE LORD SPEAKING TO US?

Father Francis's picture
First Week of Ordinary Time

1 Sam. 3:1-10, 19-20 & Mk. 1:29-39

A man lost his hearing. An operation to have it restored was a failure. On leaving the hospital he commented, 'I would have liked to have had my hearing back but it was not to be. At least I can thank God that the most important thing still remains - I will still hear the voice of the Lord speaking to me.'

God speaks to our hearts in many different ways and uses many diverse means, both physical and spiritual. He speaks through Scripture, through prayer, and through circumstances surrounding our daily lives. He speaks through Creation, through books and music, and through faithful friends.

Sometimes, we hear God speaking through the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, or through our own consciences: 'Don't pay back evil with evil'; 'Go to Mass today'; 'You've hurt that person, say sorry'.

When God speaks, amazing things can happen. At the beginning of time He spoke, and the whole of Creation came into being. God spoke, and the Israelites were set free. He spoke and prophets called His people to repentance. Above all, God spoke most powerfully through His Son, revealing His very heart and mind to His beloved people. Even today, God still speaks to us, offering us His light, His life and His love.

Like young Samuel in today's reading, however, sometimes it takes us a while before we realize that it is the Lord speaking. God knows how hard we try to do the right thing, and how difficult it can be at times to discern His voice. And that's precisely why He keeps calling out to us. We can be assured that the more we try to listen the clearer His voice will become. We can rely on Jesus' promise that "The sheep that belong to Me listen to My voice" (Jn. 10:27). Young Samuel's prayer can be ours, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

Throughout the pages of the Gospel we see Jesus reaching out to others with understanding and empathy. In today’s reading He cured the mother of Peter’s wife, because having a mother Himself, He knew the joy He could bring by curing her. And that same evening, He cured many others and cast out devils from some. In fact, throughout His life Jesus either experienced or shared in almost every possible human emotion, both joyful and painful. He knew the joy of a good meal with friends and He suffered the pain of watching some of His disciples turn away from Him.

Not only in living did Jesus share all things equally with us, but by His death He could take away all the power of the Devil, who had power over death. Jesus set free all of us who had been held in slavery by the fear of death.

In Jesus Christ, our God is not far removed from us and our human situation. He is close to us in every aspect of our lives, ready to hear our prayers with understanding and to direct them to God the Father with earnestness and concern. What happiness these thoughts should give us.

Lord Jesus, may we always listen to Your voice and may Your words be effective in us. We thank You for Your generosity and love for us. May we never fail to turn to You in all our needs and to share with You all our joys.

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