Perhaps you have heard the story of two friends walking down a busy city street. Horns were honking. People were talking to one another. Police whistles pierced the air. Sirens blared of a passing ambulance. However, one of the two friends said to his friend, “Do you hear that?” “Hear what?” his friend replied. “The cricket, can you hear it?” At this the man looked at his friend and said, “You must be kidding!”
His friend pulled his sleeve and tugged him across the street where there was a hotel. In front of the hotel were two potted plants. He parted the branches, and sure enough, there sat a cricket chirping away. “How in the world did you hear that in the midst of all this din?” asked his friend. “Watch this,” his friend said. He pulled several coins from his pocket and dropped them on the pavement. Immediately, everyone in the vicinity turned and looked about to see if they had dropped some money. “We choose to listen to that which we value,” said the first man to his friend.
In the Gospel, we are told that the one who hears the Word of God and acts upon it is the brother, sister, and mother of Jesus. Of course this implies one is listening. There are all sorts of noises that can block out the Word of God. However, it is true that we choose to listen to that which we value.
The first reading places several more proverbs before us. This time the proverbs are taken from the section known as the Wisdom of Solomon, reputedly Israel’s wisest monarch. The one that caught my attention was the proverb that compares stolen wealth to chasing a bubble. Soap bubbles were a part of my childhood; perhaps they were part of yours as well. Do you remember chasing the bubbles only to have them explode when you touch them? Gaining wealth through lies is just as fragile as a soap bubble. Trying to get through our day without listening to God is another example of chasing soap bubbles.
Each day Jesus breaks open the Word of God for us and serves it to us at his table. May we always approach the altar with a listening heart.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
The story comes from the Creighton University website.