As a teacher, I am sometimes frustrated by students who don’t appear to listen. Despite my best efforts and repeated instructions, suggestions and admonitions, the students take a different path, turn in the wrong direction or make a mistake. They know what they should do, but they don’t do it. I sigh loudly and roll my eyes over their bullheaded behavior that can get them into some academic trouble.
That kind of behavior resonated with me as I read the first reading today, where Moses intercedes for those who have built the molten calf to worship it. Moses asks God to relent from punishing those who have strayed, who didn’t listen to God and Moses. God does listen and relents. In the Gospel reading from John, Jesus seems exasperated that people don’t listen or if they do listen, they don’t hear. He tells of people searching the Scriptures to find eternal life, yet they don’t want to come to Jesus to have that life.
Today’s readings made me realize that this lack of listening, or perhaps it is listening and not really hearing, also characterizes my relationship with God. I have instructions, suggestions and admonitions, but I often stray away from what I should do and who I should be. I don’t hear. I may listen to the Gospel, but I’m easily swayed by my own bullheadedness. I pray that I really hear God and that I listen with an open heart and a mind and a will that are open to God’s way, not just my way.
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