Advent week 2

Second Sunday of Advent – 4 December 2022

LISTEN = SILENT

Greetings of peace, joy and love!

 A story is told about a priest who was greeting the people at the church entrance after the mass when suddenly a child grabbed his hand and handed him money. Surprised, the priest asked the child, “What is this for my child?” The child said, “I thought you could use the money. After your homily, my mother whispered to me that you are the poorest preacher this parish has ever had.”

I once attended a national conference for priests about the “Joy of Preaching.” Several speakers, both priests and lay people were invited to help us priests rediscover the joy in preaching. One lay speaker spoke of the need for priests to better our homilies to offset what he termed a “crisis in preaching.” I can only nod in agreement.

But if we can speak of a crisis in preaching, I believe we can also speak of a crisis in listening. I do not speak here of a collective hearing disability. I am not talking about an aural listening, i.e. to listen with one ear. Rather, I am speaking of a cardiac listening, i.e. to listen with one’s heart. Notice here, therefore, that in the middle of the word “heart”, there is an “ear”. Listening is, in essence, the proper function of the heart.

This is why the Gospel of today remind us of a “voice crying out in the desert,” calling us to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The desert is a place of silence. In fact, it is so silent, that you can literally hear the beating of your heart.

What do you hear as Christmas approaches? The sound of carols, new gadgets, get-together, parties? What makes you excited in the heart? Christmas beckons.

And as that day approaches, I think of that familiar carol, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

What is that song inciting us to hear? It beckons us to listen with our heart to “the child, the child, sleeping in the night, He will bring us goodness and light. He will bring us goodness and light!”

This Christmas, let us remember to leave space in our hearts for the Child who will bring us goodness and light!

Quote: If you re-arrange the word “SILENT” you will also form the word “LISTEN”

            It is when our hearts are silent that we can truly listen to God speaking to us.

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