‘Lent is a time for us to embrace the call to listen’

As we ponder the story of the transfiguration in this Sunday’s Gospel, it is important for us to remember that this is one of two instances when we are privileged to “hear” the words of the Father in relationship to Jesus.

The first occurrence is at the Lord’s baptism when the Father’s voice is heard, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). This pronouncement by the Father provides the introduction of Jesus to the world and serves as the initiation of His public ministry which will lead to the cross and resurrection.

This week, we once again hear that Jesus is the beloved Son, but now the subsequent words are for us and not just for Jesus, “listen to Him.” Considering these are the words of the Father we should really take them seriously. So, the question we need to ask ourselves is “Are we listening to the Son?”

This is a tough question to answer sometimes. Yes, we hear or read the words of Christ every time we come to Mass or read one of the Gospels, but does that mean we are listening to Him? I would suggest that listening means more than just hearing or reading His words and requires an investment of our time, our hearts, and our minds. To listen to Christ means that we allow the words to really enter into our hearts and minds and then wrestle with them as they are always a challenge to our daily way of life. If we are unsure of this consider this: “Love your enemies.” Do we all have that command fully integrated into our daily lives?

Listening demands we spend time with the Lord and His words, otherwise, they will just be that, words that enter into one ear and out the other. I believe it requires that this “time” be more than just hearing the readings at Mass on Sunday morning. Do we take the time to reflect upon the scriptures before we get to Mass? Do we discuss the readings with others after the Mass or during the week at home or with friends? Do we use a commentary or daily devotional to help us understand more deeply the significance of the words we hear? Are we truly listening to Christ and His words and His Church, or is it all just a superficial readings or hearing?

Lent is a time for us to embrace the call to listen, to consider, to wrestle with, to study, and to share with others the words proclaimed.

If you need help seeking resources or suggestions, just ask, or go online to FORMED; so many solid Catholic resources are available for us to engage the Word so that we become listeners and not just hearers. As St. Peter reminds us in John’s Gospel, “Master to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

In Christ,

Msgr. John J. McDermott

Diocesan Administrator