Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 31
May God’s Spirit of Truth and Love Fill Each of Us with His Grace to Always Listen to His Voice and No Other, Enflaming Our Hearts and Souls with a Love and Zeal to Fulfill His Divine Will in All That He Asks of Us.
“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority…” – words we read in today’s Gospel, a declaration by those who were listening to Jesus’ teaching that there was truly something profound in the way He spoke about God’s Truth.
Each one of us, from the moment we are baptized into our Christian faith, is called by God to become His disciple, the extension of His Heart in the world, listening to and acting upon His words of love, mercy, truth and peace.
And as we mature and grow in the grace of wisdom, beginning our journey through life, our faith grows with us, and we become aware, at some point in our human development, that there is a God who loves each one of us beyond human imagination! – a Divine Love who guides each of us on a journey of learning to love and trust in the One who created us for Himself and saved us from slavery to sin.
And we begin to slowly realize that we are all His children, brothers and sisters in Christ – each of us sons and daughters of the Eternal Father, called to inherit the Kingdom which God has created for us!
But the process of growing and maturing in God’s grace requires that we learn to listen to and recognize His will for us in our daily lives. It requires that we set aside all that would separate us from His Spirit – feelings of pride, ego, feelings of self-importance – and that we embrace that virtue which God wills for us, in order to remain in intimate relationship with Himself – the virtue of humility.
For it is only with a truly humble heart that we can begin to hear the voice of God within ourselves. Sometimes he speaks to us through the inspirations we receive interiorly; at other times, He speaks to us through our loved ones, or through the ministers of His Church and the words of Sacred Scripture.
This is what Moses promised God’s chosen people, “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen.” And our psalmist reminds us of how a humbled heart should always act towards God, “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts…’”
Yet, we know only too well how easily one can become immersed in the ways of the world, especially when we have responsibilities to family and occupation, and to the demands which our financial obligations place upon us.
To this end, Paul is reminding us in our Second Reading today that, no matter what path we may follow in life, we should always stay focused on God’s will for us – “I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.”
For when we place God first, then all the other matters which affect our lives – loved ones, job, health, etc., will all take their proper place as is pleasing to the will of God. Again, this all results from our first embracing the virtue of humility and listening to the word of God in our hearts.
For almost two thousand years since the day of Pentecost, God’s children have had the opportunity of being taught and guided by His Spirit. We have come to know and better understand the profoundness of the teachings of Jesus Christ. We, too, stand “astonished at his teaching”, for He teaches us “as one having authority…”
But we can only hear Him when our hearts are humbled and our minds are quieted from the busyness which surrounds us on all sides! Unfortunately, however, when one’s mind, heart and soul are clouded with arrogance, filled with pride and conceit, then the only voice which we hear is that of the prince of darkness – Satan.
God calls each one of us, as His children, to become prophets in a world which no longer wishes to hear or embrace God’s Truth. He calls each one of us to become disciples so that we may be witnesses to His Truth through our thoughts, our words and our actions.
Jesus came to set people free from the worst tyranny possible – the tyranny of slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal desolation of both body and soul. God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and despair, from confusion and error, and from the fear of everlasting death and hopelessness.
Through our Baptism, we have been given new life in Jesus Christ. Through our Confirmation, we have been strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live that “new life” in a world, in a society which has oftentimes closed its heart to the Light of this world.
Nourished and sustained by Eucharist, we are each called to give witness to that Divine Light – a Light which invites each of us, regardless of race, class, color or religious persuasion, to become co-heirs with Jesus Christ for all eternity.
It was for this very reason that God sent His only Son into the world, “…so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
Our faith teaches us that our God is the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. May His Spirit of Truth and Love fill each one of us with His grace to always listen to His voice and no other!
And may the joy and hope of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ enflame our hearts and souls with a love and zeal to fulfill His Divine will in all that He asks of you and me in the life we live on this side of Heaven!
Only then shall we become a truly faithful people whose lives will echo the words of today’s psalmist, “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “[Moses spoke to all the people, saying:] ‘A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen.’” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
- “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works…I said: ‘This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my anger: ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” (Psalm 95:7c-9, 10b-11)
- “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; let the earth hear the words of my mouth! May my teaching soak in like the rain, and my utterance drench like the dew, like a downpour upon the grass, like a shower upon the crops. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD, praise the greatness of our God!” (Deuteronomy 32:1-3)
- “The people were astonished at [Jesus’] teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:22)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “Jesus answered them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.’” (John 8:34)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37cd)
- “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” (John 10:27-28a)
- “I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.” (1 Corinthians 7:35)
- “[Jesus] began to teach them saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.’” (Matthew 5:2-3, 5)
- “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, we are the people he shepherds, the sheep in his hands.” (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Glorious Savior,
we humbly give to You our lives;
do with us as Your Divine Providence wills,
for Your greater honor and glory.
“Make our lives useful to Your service.
The only ambition we have is to humbly
and honestly listen to You and fulfill Your Divine will.
In this, we wish to lift up Your Name, Jesus, not ours.
“We desire to make known the power of Your Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Divine Love and Truth.
We want You to claim us for Yourself,
and use us according to Your Divine purpose.
“And no matter the task
which You assign to us in life,
we will be contented, and full of joy,
to fulfill our purpose as disciples of Your Spirit.
“Lord Jesus, may Your Holy Spirit live in us always,
guiding us to live a virtuous and fruitful life,
always pleasing to You and helpful to our neighbor,
as we help to build up the Body of Christ on Earth.
“Fill our lives with meaning and our hearts with hope.Anonymous
And when our time here is complete,
bless us with eternal life in Your Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus, we pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”