THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Laredo, Texas January 28-February 3, 2024
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Deuteronomy 18:15-20.Psalm 95. Corinthians 7:32-35. Mark 1:21-28.
Today’s readings talk about listening intently, especially to the voice of God. In our busy world God’s voice is often drown out by the interests and cares of simply living. Most people are constantly challenged to just survive from day to day. Yet, we often find a profound faith and trust in the poor of this world. St. Paul speaks about the challenges and cares of married people. They have so many more distractions and need to survive, not just for themselves but for their children and often for sick parents or relatives, too. Yet, in the midst of these difficulties, we are humbled by their admirable faith and trust in God. Perhaps, we only need to recall our own parents to see the heroic day to day struggle to remain true to God’s voice.
They may not have talked about God frequently but their actions indicated, that there was something deeper in their lives, that supported their care and love for others. My father did not go to church, nor can I ever remember him talking about God. However, when he died, people said that if they could be half, as Christian, giving and loving, as he was, though he didn’t go to church, they would have it made in the shade.
Moses talks about the importance of listening to those appointed to share the word of God, such as prophets, but to be wise in the choice of such persons. Are they encouraging us to be generous and compassionate toward one another? Are they forgiving and reconciling people, who tell us to mend fences and make peace with one another? Do they work hard to seek justice and peace for all people, crossing barriers of race, religion and self-interests? Are they truthful or do they spread lies and discord? Are they generous in the use of their time, talent and goods for the benefit of others? This sounds likes an “examination of the conscience” of another person. These are questions we should ask about everyone, including ourselves, before we choose to follow or listen to them.
God is manifest constantly in the goodness, reflected in the life of good people. We only need to read the book of the lives of so many people who have gone before us, as well as, those who are living today. Would that we are among them – prophets of our own times by the compassion and goodness of our lives.
Even seven year olds have a story to tell, as we heard on the News about a First grader who told another child, who was being bullied, that she should look into her own heart and not listen to bad people.
St. John Bosco is an example of a kind and compassionate person, who saw the plight of young boys, who had come to the city to seek work and lived in squalor and neglect. He cared for them and set up homes and education for them and inspired others to do so. He eventually founded the Salesian Order.
February 2 is the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary. They followed the Jewish law of returning a boy child to God. They could afford only two turtle doves in the place of their child. It was on this occasion, when Simeon, a holy man, who had been promised that he would see the Messiah before his death, so declares that this child is the one. Wasn’t anyone listening to this declaration? Why wasn’t there a follow up by the Temple authority? There certainly wasn’t any “hearing of God’s voice” that day.
Anna, a prophetess, cautions Mary that her heart will be broken and she will suffer much, because of this child. May must have pondered these words many times in the next thirty years before her terrible sufferings in the last three years of Jesus’ life. Jesus is honored as the Light of the World today. Today February 2 is the remembrance and thanksgiving for the many men and women who have consecrated themselves to God in religious life. St. Pope John Paul II instituted the celebration in 1997.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts,” Psalm 95