Listening to and Obeying God
“Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord”
Today’s readings: Jer 7:23-28; Ps 95:1-9; Luke 11:14-23
For us to be in covenant with God, for us to be His people, for us to prosper, we need to listen to His voice and walk in His ways. There can be no other way. “This rather is what I commanded them: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you will prosper.” (Jer 7:23). We belong to God, we are totally dependent upon Him, our hope is in Him. We can only become the people God intends for us to be, and we can only fulfill our destiny, if our lives are totally turned over to Him.
The danger is always disobedience. By this we cut ourselves off from God, and thus from His protection and blessings. We must therefore take care not to harden our hearts, no longer listening to God, and not to turn our backs to Him, no longer walking in His ways. The danger is always there. Thus we have to remind each other, to give fraternal correction, to speak prophetically to those becoming unfaithful. “Say to them: This is the nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” (Jer 7:28). If we ever reach this point, it would be a great tragedy. But we must not think it cannot happen. A little unfaithfulness or infidelity here and there, and suddenly over the years we have strayed from the right path. We must be ever vigilant.
One consequence of straying from the right path is disunity in the parish. Or put another way, if there is ongoing disunity, especially among leaders, this is an indication of growing infidelity.
Disunity is a favorite attack of the enemy. Disunity prevents a parish community from fulfilling God’s purpose for it. As Jesus himself said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” (Lk 11:17). Our effectiveness and strength depend on our being one body pursuing our one vision and mission.
We must strive for unity at all costs, for unity is of God. This entails humility, servanthood and fraternal love.
Reflection/action: Consider how open you are to speaking prophetically to your brethren, including your leaders, for the sake of our remaining faithful to our covenant. Are you able to do this with boldness but with respect, thus helping ensure unity even in the face of differences?
Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to always listen to and discern your voice. Also help me to see that you also speak to me through your prophets, including my peers and subordinates. Grant me the humility to accept correction and mend my ways. May we in our parish community be always united in heart and mind, loving one another as brethren, and pursuing our mission with passion. Amen.
God bless you.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)