Taking Care of What We Hear, Third Thursday (II), January 30, 2014

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Thursday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year II
January 30, 2014
2 Sam 7:18-19.24-29, Ps 132, Mk 4:21-25

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

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • “Jesus said to his disciples,” the words with which today’s Gospel begins, are quite common. The word disciple, as you know, in Greek means “student.” And therefore as we continue Catholic Schools Week, we come to Jesus the Master who continues to teach us his disciples. We’re called to approach his teaching, as we spoke about two weeks ago, “amazed” and “astonished.” Today, building on what he taught us yesterday about bearing fruit in the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, he teaches us three interconnected lessons concerning what we are to do with the blessing of what he teaches us.
  • First, he says that he wants the light of his teaching to shine through us. He has lit the lamp of our minds and hearts with his holy hour and he doesn’t want us to place it under a bushel basket or a bed but on a lamp stand. He doesn’t want us to keep what he teaches us secret but to make it visible, to bring it to the light of day.
  • Second, Jesus tells us to “take care what you hear.” We can understand this in two senses. First, it’s pay attention that you listen well to what I’m saying. We ought to be at the edge of our seats when Jesus speaks, attentive to every word, remembering it, pondering it in our hearts, placing it together with what he’s taught us before and letting it become a foundation for what he wishes to teach us later in our prayer, in our listening to Sacred Scripture, in what he reveals to us in day-to-day events. The second way he wants us to take care what you hear is to treasure what he reveals, to care for it, to nourish it, to water the seeds of his word. In today’s first reading, we see David’s prayer before the Lord, his utter astonishment at the Lord’s goodness to him. ““Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, that you have brought me to this point? Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD;  you have also spoken of the house of your servant  for a long time to come:  this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD! … It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who said in a revelation to your servant, ‘I will build a house for you.’” The Lord God had blessed David with the promise of establishing in him an eternal kingdom, one that would be fulfilled by Jesus his descendent according to the flesh and it was a blessing almost too much to comprehend, and David asks for God to fulfill that promise, uniting his will to the will of the Lord. Likewise, when Jesus give us his teaching, it’s a similar blessing and we should respond to it with wonder and amazement, just like Moses in receiving and proclaiming the law of the Lord cried out to the Lord, “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?  Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?  … However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” We need similarly to take care and be on our guard not to forget what God is teaching us, not to let them slip from our memory as long as we live, but to to teach them to our children and grandchildren.”
  • This leads to the third point: Jesus tells us that the “measure with which you measure will be measured out to you and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This is basically the law of “use or it or lose it,” which every student, every athlete, every musician knows. The more we learn, the more we can learn. The more we work out, the more we can work out and the tougher the exercises we can do. The more we practice the piano, the more our talent develops; the less we practice, the more we lose our ability. Unless we use a gift, the gift atrophies. It’s similar with the light of the teaching he gives us: the more we give it, the more we’ll receive it, and if we don’t pass it on to others, we’re at risk for losing it. Any teacher will tell you that if you really want to learn something, try to teach it to others. The measure with which we measure is measured back to us. The way we let the light shine, the way we take care of the word, is to measure it out, so that we may not only grow in our possession of the light of his word but also grow in our giving it away as the great blessing David and Moses both recognized. 
  • Let’s take these lessons and apply them to what we are beginning today, a new era in the history of our parish, with 48 hours weekly of Eucharistic adoration that we hope over the course of time to be able to expand to truly perpetual adoration. It’s here on the altar that Jesus wishes to tutor each of us one on one in personal prayer, to fill us with his light, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in poverty and prosperity, all the days of our life. It’s where he wants to help us grow into who he created us to be. Our response to this gift must involve not keeping it under a bushel basket but spreading the light of this opportunity to others, inviting them to participate and receive similar fruits to what Jesus will give us. It means to take care of what he whispers to us here and to pass this gift on to our children and grandchildren. It means to measure it out, to do this in his memory, so that we grow in our capacity for adoring communion in all parts of his life.  What nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us here in the Holy Eucharist? We ask him for the grace never to cease thanking him for this incredible gift, to help us grow in our appreciation for this gift, and to help us, receiving his holy light here, to radiate it on the lamp stand of all our daily activities and beyond.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
2 SM 7:18-19, 24-29

After Nathan had spoken to King David,
the king went in and sat before the LORD and said,
“Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house,
that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD;
you have also spoken of the house of your servant
for a long time to come:
this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!“You have established for yourself your people Israel as yours forever,
and you, LORD, have become their God.
And now, LORD God, confirm for all time the prophecy you have made
concerning your servant and his house,
and do as you have promised.
Your name will be forever great, when men say,
‘The LORD of hosts is God of Israel,’
and the house of your servant David stands firm before you.
It is you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel,
who said in a revelation to your servant,
‘I will build a house for you.’
Therefore your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer to you.
And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth;
you have made this generous promise to your servant.
Do, then, bless the house of your servant
that it may be before you forever;
for you, Lord GOD, have promised,
and by your blessing the house of your servant
shall be blessed forever.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 132:1-2, 3-5, 11, 12, 13-14

R. (Lk 1:32b) The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
LORD, remember David
and all his anxious care;
How he swore an oath to the LORD,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob.
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“I will not enter the house where I live,
nor lie on the couch where I sleep;
I will give my eyes no sleep,
my eyelids no rest,
Till I find a home for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
The LORD swore an oath to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
“Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
“If your sons keep my covenant,
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
Their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he prefers her for his dwelling:
“Zion is my resting place forever;
in her I will dwell, for I prefer her.”
R. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father.

Gospel
MK 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”