Meeting Jesus in our ListeningSunday 9th February 2020
In the Third Stage of our pastoral programme, Hope in the Future, Bishop John has called on us “to value Sunday Mass more and more, devoting ourselves to its preparation and celebration.”
To help us achieve this four pastoral messages and worksheets will be distributed throughout the liturgical year. The worksheets are hoped to prompt reflection and discussion among parish communities. The first worksheet focused on our welcome and asked us to consider the welcome we give and receive at Sunday Mass. Today’s worksheet focuses on listening, and the following two will focus on offering and our mission.
In the second worksheet, Bishop John writes
Our spoken words are an essential and vital part of our prayer in the Eucharistic celebration. We declare our Faith and give praise to God in the many familiar texts of the Mass, such as the Gloria, The Creed, the Our Father. We can also present our needs and concerns in the Prayers of the Faithful. But it is in listening to the readings from the Scriptures that we hear God Himself speaking to us.
The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that “the Word of God is something alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12) which means that even the most familiar passages of the Scriptures can speak to us in different and new ways according to the circumstances of our lives, challenging and reassuring us, day by day. It is important that we continually investigate and pray with the Scriptures so that God can be made present in all our actions, choices and decisions.
The project from the Bishops’ Conference which continues throughout this year, called “The God Who speaks”, will help us in our discovery of the power of God’s Word. While our reception of the Eucharist is our “nourishment for our Journey”, it is in our listening that we can best know how to direct our actions as “missionary disciples”.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds so that we can hear what God is saying to us today. ‘Speak Lord your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9). Today’s Gospel reminds us of our vital commission to be “salt to the earth” and “light to the world”. Our attentive listening to the Word of God, in the Scriptures, will help us to be all that God wants us to be in our mission.
Questions to Consider
Use these questions to guide your personal reflection, or any discussions either at Mass or in Parish groups
- How do I prepare to listen to God’s Word each Sunday?
- Do I ever look at the Scripture readings in the week before Mass?
- What aids help us listen attentively?
- Are ‘missalettes’ a distraction?
- Is there a real atmosphere of listening in the Liturgy of the Word?
- How effective is the Homily in “nurturing Christian life”?
- Is the Creed a powerful proclamation of faith or just words to be recited?