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Those Who Have Ears. . .

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

"Did you hear me?"

I wonder how many times we have been asked this question. Parents ask their children, spouses ask one another, teachers ask their students. We all seem to develop that habit of "selective" hearing. Yet there is probably no greater gift we can give one another than to listen to one another. We all want to be heard. Those of us who have taken courses in public speaking have been schooled in the art of grabbing the attention of our audience and holding on to it.

Today's Gospel passage ends with a maxim from the lips of Jesus: Whoever has ears ought to hear (Matthew 13:43b). The saying is just another way to ask "Did you hear me?" Listening to the Word of God is perhaps the most important kind of hearing. Failing to listen, failing to hear can lead to dire consequences. The first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah is a powerful lament, a poem so poignant that it is included in the Liturgy of the Hours in the four week psalter. Jeremiah cries out in anguish as he witnesses the destruction of the people of Israel, the consequence of failing to listen, of failing to hear and obey God's word.

One of the biographers of St. Francis of Assisi refers to him as "no deaf hearer" of God's word. Ears are not necessary to hear God's word, for we listen to the Word with our hearts. God's word is within us, given to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Pulling away from the noise of our daily life is the first step in listening to God's word. Creating a space and time during which we can devote our minds and hearts to God and the Word is the only way to truly hear what God is asking of us. It must and should, or to borrow a word from the lips of Jesus, it "ought" to become part of every day.

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