January 31, 2021 - The 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
1 Corinthians 7: 32-35
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
In the first reading for this Sunday Moses encourages the people to listen, not just to himself, but to the God who speaks to His people through His prophet. In the desert Moses had to continually remind the people to open their hearts and minds to be alert to how God was leading them to the Promised Land. The Lord was their Shepherd who was leading the people, His flock. How often they complained in the desert of their lives.
St. Paul encourages us to live out our lives with less distraction. “I should like you to be free from anxiety. "Whether we are married, single, or living as a man or woman woman, we are daily confronted with anxiety, especially in regards to the corona virus pandemic, and all its ramifications with regards to family living, loss of loved ones, financial problems, churches and schools faced with going virtual through computers, and so much more. How can we find ways to focus our minds and our hearts on the nearness of God Who is suffering with us through this time of anxiety and distress?
In the Gospel, Mark writes that Jesus was present to His people. He taught them in astonishing ways. Today, we might say that Jesus commands the spirits of sickness, grief, fear, and anxiety to leave our lives. Can we believe and trust in the Lord to eventually bring us to a time and place of peace and openness to others’ consolation and compassion? Are we, or can we become persons who reflect the love and consolation of the Lord for those we know and love? What do we discover about ourselves when we find we are in the midst of trying circumstances? Let us all try and focus upon our lives in becoming more deeply instruments of peace for others.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge. If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts. And again: You that have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” “…as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.” Prologue 9-10, 49
“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light; on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.” Matthew 4:16