When Jesus speaks, we should listen

Today our society has many self-inflicted anxieties about material life and success.  St. Paul would like us to be free of anxiety and able to concentrate on our natural ability as human beings to be in union with God.

Moses speaks with alarming clarity, “A prophet like me the Lord your God will raise up; to him shall you listen.” Listen for what? Listen for the words of Jesus Christ. Here, today, in this place, our parish gathers to listen and to understand. ‘Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.’

The first action we performed as a People was the sign of the Cross and the greeting: The Lord be with you! And as a People you responded: And with your spirit! We were opening our hearts, extending our spirits to the Lord of Hosts so that he may enter, so that we might be ‘astonished’ by what he teaches us.

The gospel says he comes with the authority of God. Jesus has the authority to change hearts, to obliterate fear and to destroy anxiety over material concerns. Jesus approaches a man with an unclean spirit, who, like us is afraid of change. He cries out, just like we might, ‘Have you come to destroy my comfort zone? Have you come to change me?’

Then the man confesses as we do in the Creed: ‘I know who you are, the Holy One of God!’ Immediately Jesus rebukes the fear and says, “QUIET” “Come out of the man!” Jesus’ one command obliterates the man’s anxiety and fear; he destroys his old self-inflicted wounds, and ‘with a loud cry the fear came out of the man.’ All were amazed because Jesus is God with a “new teaching with authority”

When Jesus says, ‘Quiet,’ should we be enslaving ourselves to worry about the things we need to do? Should we be anxious and afraid that we don’t have the time to finish what we started to do?  Should we be worrying about what the future has in store for us? No! When Jesus says “quiet” we should be let our whole body and soul be still and be united as a People in our silence before God so he can heal us by driving out any unclean spirit that possesses us and can speak clearly so we can understand his will for our parish and our families.

My friends, our destiny lies in our union with God. All will be well if we root ourselves in that one priority: God first, God always, God alone. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt 26:6)

The Psalm in today’s Mass bids us to be here and do what we are meant to do. With determination, focus and with great humility, let us open our hearts and minds to Him, “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For He is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.” (Psalm 95)