How do you measure?–Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

monastic silence

How do you measure moments in a year? By seasons–Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter or Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer.  A new semester

(Or to borrow from a Broadway musical)  525600 minutes

525600 moments of a life

For now we find ourselves back into an ordered time.

The Ordinary Time in between time.

A season following the Post celebratory chaos

We here in the Gospel from Luke, the reminder of a prophet’s words falling on deaf ears

in their own community.  As I was preparing for today’s post one point struck me, as if you were drilling in my ears this instruction.  For two weeks in a row we are being told that the “Scripture passage is fulfilled in our hearing.” However, in the same proclamation we are told that we (if we are prophets) are not accepted in our native place?

So the drill bit, continued to go in and when it came out there was a large whole and realization that this passage is not fulfilled, because we (I) have not heard. How often have things we been told “Came in one ear and out the other?”

As some of you may know, I tend to be a bit of a Benedictine, but was also trained by Dominicans and there are two phrases that come from these two ways of life, that I share in, that have been helpful for my ongoing formation.

From the Benedictine tradition it comes from the Rule of St. Benedict in the prologue, this is the very first sentence I had to memorize from the rule. “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

In the Dominican tradition, taken from St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologiae,” is “to contemplate and to share the fruits of your contemplation.”

These two phrases help frame and animate the way in which I intend live out my life. I am convinced that there are two types of hearing that they are talking about in the Gospel for this Sunday. One is the hearing of the ears and the second is the hearing of the heart or of contemplation. So if there are these two different hearings it is no wonder why a prophet is not accepted in his own native place.

Their voice is surrounded in likeness of the community to which they belong and so they don’t “hear” this new voice. This new voice that has come about by the Person’s own “Hearing or contemplation.” Some times communities just need to slow down and practice our own Disputatio—or listening.

What is our listening calling us to?’ What passions are stirring up in us, because we take the time to listen to them? What, because of our hearing, will cause us to a fury and be passionate about?

Passions drive us and commit us to the count of ten. I’m a fire in the belly type of guy. Passions, if they are worthwhile, if they come from God, as did those in the life of Jesus, come from the quiet and sometimes courage upon our committed lives and as if driven by goodness beyond our control by some preordained call. It happens, our prophetic voice is heard.

“In Nelson Mandela, imprisoned as if in transparent amber by the unrelenting truth of his conviction. In Rosa Parks, calmly refusing to go not only to the back of the bus but also to the back of life. In a lone and anonymous student remembered forever because he stood in defiance of the military in Tiananmen Square.  In the prophet Jeremiah, impelled to be faithful to a word whose vary power reduced his desire to ashes. To say nothing of teenagers daring to practice uncommon mores among their peers. Elderly people reluctantly raising yet a second family of their children’s children.

Passionate commitments happen. They don’t always feel like passion, maybe not even most of the time, but they do happen.”[1]  We must have the courage to first stop and hear with the ear of our hearts, so that we can faithfully say “Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Maybe this is how we will measure moments of a life?


[1] Taken from Living with the Word: Year C from World Library Publications.

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