Many of us remember Paul Simon’s song “The Boxer,” “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest,” (The Boxer lyrics © Mca Music Ltd., Paul Simon Music, Sony/atv Songs Llc, Warner/chappell Music Ltd)
Both readings today have a common theme: people hear but don’t really listen or we selectively hear what we want to hear. In the first reading, people are not listening to the prophet Jeremiah. He is reminding them of how great God has been to them in leading them out of Egypt and into the promised land. But soon they forgot God’s goodness and got busy going their own way including idolatry to Baal. Jeremiah states the priests don’t even try and seek the Lord. Israel has forsaken the Lord and refuses to listen to Jeremiah. In today’s gospel reading Jesus urges us to open our eyes and really see, open our ears, and not just hear but listen and understand with our hearts. We all know how easy it is to get super busy, easily distracted and be overwhelmed work demands, family responsibilities and variety of other challenges.
Am I one of those persons who are so busy that I look without seeing, or hear without understanding? (https://www.sacredspace.ie/scripture/matthew-1310-17) Take some time this day to be still and listen to what God might be saying to you, wanting you to see and understand. O Lord help me to slow down and listen to your speaking and to see your presence and understand how much you love me.
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.