Throughout the forty-three years of my priesthood, I have heard many comments about homilies that I have given. In the past few days, at least two sisters have asked me about something that I said. As I told one of the sisters, at least I know that you are listening.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus doesn’t waste any time reminding us that the messenger is not as important as the message. He gets right to the heart of the message, which is: listen to the word, retain the word, be doers of the word. Whenever I hear the expression “be doers of the word,” I am reminded of something that is said of St. Francis in one of his biographies. He is called “no deaf hearer” of the Word of God. Perhaps I latched on to this phrase because I have lost the hearing in my right ear. However, for whatever reason, I recognized in that description that hearing the Word of God is not enough. We are blessed not just because we hear the word, but we are even more blessed when the word of God grows within us, is born from us, transforms us, even when we don’t understand it, and even when we don’t understand some of the suffering that would come with it. We are blessed when we say, “yes, God; I will listen God; I will live as you ask; I will have faith God.” Mary listened, the word was made flesh within her, she carried God within her, and her life was transformed. Jesus listened, his life was transformed, and he transformed others. They both heard God’s word and obeyed. They said yes to God.
When we listen and we carry the word within us, we too, become transformed through faith. The first reading says, “through faith you are all children of God; you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Hearing that is one thing, but once we have imprinted those words on our hearts, let’s ask ourselves how God wants us to change; what transformation will occur after the complete digestion of the word? What would our life and vision look like if we became doers of the word?
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator