Wednesday March 23rd, 2016
Praying for Revelation
Father, we confess in our hearts that we often hear what we want to hear, and do not listen to the things we do not like or want to hear. You are merciful O Lord, and You continue to reveal who You are through the love of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to listen! Lord, please help us to listen! We want to know the plans You made have for us. We are human and so we want to know what will become of this world; and we want to know about the world to come. Help us to listen for Your voice! When we pray O Lord, let our mind be at peace and our mouth be silent; so that when You speak we can hear and then listen! When we read and reflect on Your word, grant us wisdom and stillness… so we can listen! We know our world is crumbling and that violence fills our land; the nations of this earth plot against one another, and the sounds of contempt and hostility are loud and deafening. But these are the times in which we know that You speak to Your people—so help us listen… You are speaking, O God, let us just listen… Amen
Sometimes we are hearing, but not listening – they are not the same. It seems as though everyone close to Jesus were hearing Him talk, but almost none of them were listening to what He was saying. For three days, Jesus had been in the temple teaching, and for three days the Sadducees, Pharisees and the Chief Priest had tried nearly everything to discredit and humiliate Jesus in front of the people. Silenced by His wisdom and discernment, they finally went away to re-group, and to conspire His murder. Jesus had taught many things during the short time with His disciples, and the people who gathered with them, and in every parable, prophecy, and lesson, He was telling them in one way or another that He was going away - leaving them; leaving as in “His death.” They all heard him say the words as He spoke, but they were not listening. They heard Him talk about the end of the age - the destruction of the temple - the coming of false Christ” – the midnight cry of the bridegroom - the Son of man being lifted up - and the kingdom of God being taken away. He had even told them straight out on that Wednesday, “As you know the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Sometime later that evening after supper, in the home of Simon (whom Jesus had healed from leprosy), it became quite apparent that none of His disciples had really been listening to the important things that Jesus had been saying. Mary of Bethany apparently among the guests of Simon, approached Jesus (who was reclined from the table), and pours into His hair an expensive mixture of perfume and oil. The disciples still clueless to Christ’s message express their frustration (in particular Judas) with what she has done to Him. They grumbled under their breath, and protested to Jesus about how inappropriate her behavior was, claiming that by her pouring something so expensive on His head she was wasting valuable resources for their ministry. Jesus uses the situation as a “teachable moment” by further revealing the magnitude of His mission. He says, “Don’t bother this woman, for me she has done a beautiful thing. She pours the perfume of preparation for my burial, and wherever this gospel is preached she will be remembered.” But this too, went right over their heads. Many had heard the words of Jesus during the week, and at this point it seems as though she was the only one of the few who had listened.
Questions to Consider
Would our friends and family say that we are a good listener?
How important is listening in our relationship with Jesus and our journey of faith?
How can we improve our listening skills?
Have you ever prayed in silence?
A Word of Wisdom
If you seek prayer attentively you will find it; nothing is more essential to prayer than attentiveness. So do all you can to acquire it… The Philokalia