Try this thought experiment: imagine a family member or friend asks you to consider something outside your comfort zone, something good but challenging. Are you open to listening to their idea? Now, what about a stranger or maybe someone you know but don’t trust…are you open to listening to them? And, finally, which category do we put Jesus in?
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus speaks about the generation of his time not being receptive to John the Baptist or His message. What about our generation…and by this, I mean everyone living in our time? Are we really open to God’s message, or are there some “no-go zones”—topics that we’d rather not hear God’s message because they conflict with our life choices or the prevailing norms of our time?
Is Your Heart Okay?
A while back, there was a commercial for a home heart monitoring system. The pitchman was on a city street asking how’s your heart? Everyone at first answered either good or okay. Then the pitchman would ask what Jesus is asking us—are you sure? How do you know? It’s then that the people would be shown the heart monitor that would let them know the truth about their heart’s health.
Luke's Gospel is meant to stir us to honestly ask ourselves, do we come with a heart and mind that has faith and wants to know and understand Jesus’ teaching…or do we come with our own views and look to have God’s words validate our way? If we’re honest with ourselves and God, at different points of our life, we either wrestle with God’s Word or we choose to avoid it, perhaps even taking comfort in the concept that I’m really a pretty good person overall….much better than my neighbor down the street!
Open to Listening to God
No matter where you find yourself today in terms of openness to God’s message, St. Paul’s letter to Timothy is a great grounding for us. St. Paul wants Timothy to know how to act and preach in Ephesus, an affluent city where pagan worship was intertwined with commerce, politics, and society (sound familiar?). St. Paul reminds us that we belong to the Church of the living God and not some outdated or historical figure, popular cult figure, or man-made pagan idol, but the living God who is the pillar and foundation of all truth.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus is the Son of God, Our Savior, and He is also our most trusted source of how to live and love and find answers to the hardest questions we face. If we can put our confidence in a family member or friend who wants what’s best for us; how much more can we open our hearts and minds to Jesus? Just like Saints Andrew Kim, Paul Chong, and their companions did to the point of proclaiming His Word in Korea, offering their lives…with the result of many people believing in Jesus and His Church, the very one to whom we too belong. The one that opens our hearts to listen to God’s way, even when it’s not easy.
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!