Homily for August 10

Homily for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Let me begin with a few questions…

1) Whose voice in your life do you turn to most frequently
for advice and guidance, for answers to your questions?

2) Regardless of where you turn for advice,
whose voice in your life actually has the most impact
on your thinking, your choices and decisions?

3) What voices in your life are in competition for your attention
and which of those voices usually wins?

I imagine there are as many answers to these questions
as there are people here at Mass today    
but it’s also likely that many of us had similar responses.

Perhaps the most significant voice is that of your spouse
or your mother or father.                            

Or maybe it’s the voice of a sibling or a close friend or a colleague.

Perhaps it’s the voice of some writer or someone in the media.

And certainly, for some of us,
the most influential voice we listen to is our own voice.

But let me ask one more question:
how about the voice, the word of God?

What influence has God’s voice in my life when I’m seeking
advice and guidance and answers to my questions?
What’s the impact of God’s voice
on my thinking, choices and decisions?
In the competition for my attention,
how often does God’s voice come out ahead of the others?

Elijah, huddled in his cave, waiting to hear God’s voice
and it didn’t come as he expected
in the wind, earthquakes and fire
but rather, in a “tiny whispering  sound…”
Perhaps the voice of God 
is something we need to strain to hear…

With his heart filled with sorrow and anguish, St. Paul listened
for the voice of God’s Spirit to speak the truth.
Perhaps God’s voice speaks in the pain we want to ignore…

And in the gospel,
Peter wants to believe he’s hearing the voice of Jesus
but he’s not sure:
 “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,
if it’s you’re voice I hear…”
Perhaps God’s voice calls us to do what we don’t want to do
or what we’re afraid to do…

But could any voice in my life or yours be more important,
more significant, wiser
or more knowledgeable than God’s voice?

Is any other voice in our lives more likely than God’s
to speak the truth to us?
Perhaps we need to attune ourselves, 
attune our minds and hearts and prayer,
to listen and hear the voice of God in our lives:
to listen more carefully to the scriptures we hear at Mass;
to take home what we hear to remember in our personal prayer.

Perhaps we need to make some quiet time during the week
to listen for that “small whispering sound;
to hear God speak through our pain;
to hear God’s voice speaking what he asks of us.
What will we have missed
if we don’t make that time in our lives?
We’ll have missed nothing less than the voice of God.

Unlike Peter, we’ll not likely be invited to walk on water
but just like Peter, we are invited every day to trust
that it is the Lord speaking to us,
calling us to do what we’re not sure we can do.

So, as I began, let me close, with a few questions…

1) Whose voice in our lives do we turn to most frequently
for advice and guidance, for answers to our questions?

2) Regardless of where we turn for advice,
whose voice in our lives actually has the most impact
on our thinking, our choices and decisions?

3) What voices in our lives are in competition for our attention
and voice usually wins?

And a fourth question:

4) How, in the week ahead will each of listen more carefully
to hear the voice of God speaking in our minds and hearts,
in our prayer?

The Lord’s voice has called us today to hear his word
and to come to his table.
We've heard his voice and we've accepted his invitation.

May the sacrament we receive here
open the ears of our hearts to hear his voice in the days ahead 
– and to follow where he leads us.


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