By Lynne Keating
“He went off to a deserted place, and prayed.” ~Mark 1:35
Today’s first reading speaks of young Samuel, who, hearing someone call his name, went immediately to Eli. Eli said to him, “If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord! Your servant is listening.”
My first response to a call for assistance is like Samuel’s. But once a need is made known to me, I’m not always good about stopping to ask the Lord what He wants in this situation – and I’m even worse at listening. I sometimes ignore His voice and respond according to another’s wishes.
Today’s Gospel finds Jesus faced with a multitude of needs among His people. In response, as is often cited in the Gospels, “He went off to a deserted place, and prayed.”
I’m still in the process of learning to stop before responding to a need, or request, to ask the Lord what His will is for me at this time. Today’s Psalm suggests His answer: God does not want my sacrifice or oblation or sin offering – yet! First, He wants “a heart open to obedience.” Obedience. The root of that word means “to hear.” I certainly can’t obey the Lord if I don’t hear Him. And I won’t hear Him if I don’t take the time – and space – I need to first listen to Him.
It was eye-opening for me to discover the sin of pride lurking behind my desire to be a problem solver, a fixer, someone who gets the job done. But there it was. It is easier and faster for me to just take the Lord along as a sort of side-kick. I can tell when I’ve done that; my efforts often result in exhaustion, crankiness, or worse – resentment.
It is most humbling for me to admit this sin of pride. And humility is just what I need! I’m working on that.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours!
Call to Action
Consider making this your New Year’s Resolution, “Listen before you leap!”
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