First Week of Advent – Matthew 7:24-27
This Gospel passage is a very familiar one. Once again, Jesus is preaching about the Kingdom of heaven. He tells his listeners that any person who attends to His words and acts on His Word will be building their house on the foundation of rock.
We all know that there is a clear difference between hearing and listening. “Hearing” another is much simpler than listening. When I simply hear the other person, I literally hear the words and the content, but I don’t hear the layers of emotion that the individual may be experiencing.
To attend to another person has a much deeper meaning than simply to hear their words. When we attend to what the other person is saying to us, we listen deeply. We strive not only to hear their words but we also strive to hear what their emotions or concerns may be. We also may listen for what they are not saying.
Most likely, much of our day is spent hearing what others are saying. And this is appropriate. Many of our conversations, however, simply are functional or casual conversation. However, do we recognize it when another person needs us to truly listen to them? We all need someone who will not simply hear us! We need people in our lives who will not only hear us but who also will listen to us!
Jesus also wants us to listen to Him. Jesus desires that we truly attend to what He is saying. In his Holy Rule, St. Benedict instructs us: “listen with the ear of your heart!” Listening with our ears is second nature to us. However, when we listen with our hearts, we are fully present and attentive to the other person or to God.
Today and every day Jesus invites us to listen attentively with the ear of our heart! Will we take the time and give Him the attention He desires? Yes or No?