Thursday, December 1, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Thursday of the First Week of Advent – Matthew 7:21, 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 then acts on them will build their house on the foundation of rock.  

We all know that there is a clear difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is much simpler than listening.  When I hear the other person, I literally hear their words and the content.  However, I may not hear the layers of emotion or meaning that the individual may be trying to convey.  When we truly attend to what another person is saying, we not only hear their words, we also are attentive to their tone of voice, facial expression, anxiety level, or their sense of calm.  We also may get a sense of what they have not said.  

Much of our day is spent hearing what others are saying.  And this is appropriate.  Most of our conversations are functional or casual conversations.  However, do we recognize it when another person needs us to truly listen to them?  At times, we all need someone who will do more than simply hear our words. We need individuals in our lives who take the time to truly listen to us.  

Jesus also wants us to listen to Him.  He 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.  Today Jesus will invite you (and me) to “listen attentively with the ear of your heart.”  Will we take the time and give Him the attention He desires?

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