“If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a warning to them!” Mk 6:11.
“Mortal man, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They have rebelled and turned against me and are still rebels, just as their ancestors were.” Ezek. 2:3.
Are we listening to God? Many who call themselves Christian would claim they are and do listen to God yet in both these passages – the disciples who were sent out by Jesus and the prophet, Ezekiel – were speaking to their fellow Israelites; God’s children, yet they weren’t listening and hadn’t listened to God for many years as our second reading tells us. We may have attended church for many years and take comfort in the Bible stories we know by heart, yet are we listening for and to God? In Mark’s gospel in Ch. 6 we read of Jesus – yes, even Jesus – being rejected by those who knew him as a young boy or a teenager and who are now unable to equate his teaching with their knowledge of his background.
We have been given the task by God, just as the disciples were, of taking His Word to all peoples, yet we may believe the message is only for non-Christians. Make no mistake it is also for us – those who are reluctant to hear and to listen just as the Israelites refused to listen.
In these times of our multi-cultural, multi-faith society, it is too easy to keep quiet for fear of offending people. Some may very well be, yet there will be others who attend church at Christmas, weddings or funerals who are open to hearing God’s message. Some may show disinterestedness, yet there may be others who, with a little encouragement, can be brought to faith but we need to listen to God for those opportunities. God asks us to preach the message of the gospel. People will be reluctant to hear and we may not get very far. We may even encounter a hostile response, which the disciples did but, so what? If we’re hearing what God is saying to us, then all we’re asked to do is talk about Jesus, let God do the rest.
Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus to reach out and touch him and say that we love him. Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen: open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. Sovereign God, we are here to worship you, having made a space in our lives to pause and reflect. We come to hear your voice, and in the stillness to receive your guidance. Open our eyes to your presence, our hearts to your love and our minds to your will. Direct our thoughts, enlarge our understanding, and shape our lives, so that we may live and work for you, to the glory of your name. Amen.
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