Taking Care How We Hear, 25th Monday (II), September 19, 2016

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II
Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr
September 19, 2016
Prov 3:27-34, Ps 15, Lk 8:16-18

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today’s Gospel, from the passage immediately after Jesus gave us the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, can be summarized by Jesus’ words, “Take care how you hear.” He gives us three images that can help us to determine whether we’re receiving his Word and himself on good soil:
    • He tells us, “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light.” In other words, if we’re listening correctly, we’re hearing what he seeks to implant as “words to be done.” It’s not supposed to remain hidden or private, but is meant to illumine the world. If we’re not listening with this apostolic dimension, we’re not going to be abundant fruit.
    • He adds, “There is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” Jesus tells us that even though sometimes we can fake as if we’re paying close attention, our going through the exterior motions will eventually be exposed. Likewise if we’re fighting to give our full wits to his words, even if we’re struggling, that effort, too, will be known.
    • He then concludes, “To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” This is a law of physical exercise, musical growth, and intellectual progress: we use it or we lose it. To the one who gives the word both ears as well as the mind and the heart, he will become more and more fruitful; but to the one who is not really hanging on every word, he’ll lose eventually even that superficial adherence.
  • A great means by which we can look at whether we’re listening with these qualities is by turning to today’s first reading, which is one of only three day in two years we have passages from the Book of Proverbs.
    • The Book of Proverbs first tells us, “Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in your power to do it for him. Say not to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give,’ when you can give at once.” This means that we should listen with alacrity to God when he speaks to us through others. If we think we can delay, then we won’t be prompt in our discipleship, like the first disciples were in leaving their boats immediately to follow Jesus.
    • Next Proverbs tells us, “Plot no evil against your neighbor, against one who lives at peace with you. Quarrel not with a man without cause, with one who has done you no harm.” When we’re listening to the word of God, it will transform us into peacemakers,  true children of God, not only not plotting evil or quarreling, but building peace.
    • Third, we’re told, “Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways: To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination, but with the upright is his friendship.” Sometimes we can envy those who have gotten away with things that are wrong, but this passage reminds us that the upright are friends of God. When we listen to the word of God, we’re listening to a friend.
    • Finally, the passage reminds us, “The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but the dwelling of the just he blesses; When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern, but to the humble he shows kindness.” God wants to bless our “dwelling,” our life, and he will show his kindness when we’re humble. For this to occur, we begin by humbling accepting God’s word within as a great blessing.
  • Someone who really did listen to the word of God aright is St. Januarius, whom we celebrate today. He listened to Jesus’ words as words of eternal life and he acted on them, giving light even in his martyrdom, even in his blood after death. He never hid his faith; he took care how he heard; he became great because he exercised his faith; he gave promptly, sought to live at peace with those who were open, lived as a friend of God and sought to introduce others into that friendship and, because of his humility in following Jesus along the path of the grain of wheat, he now has been accepted into God’s eternal dwelling.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 PRV 3:27-34

Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.
Say not to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give,” when you can give at once.Plot no evil against your neighbor,
against one who lives at peace with you.
Quarrel not with a man without cause,
with one who has done you no harm.

Envy not the lawless man
and choose none of his ways:
To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination,
but with the upright is his friendship.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
but the dwelling of the just he blesses;
When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern,
but to the humble he shows kindness.

Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

Alleluia MT 5:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

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