February 22, 2010
Listen and Go
2nd Sunday of Lent
February 28, 2010
Luke 9: 28b-36 “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
Lent is a time of transfiguration. It is our time to gear up, hike to our prayer mountain and listen to the voice of God like Jesus did. In prayer, we bring ourselves into the holy presence of God to purify our hearts from our own sinfulness, selfishness and impure motivations. God made us in His image and likeness; we are more inclined to goodness, beauty, and harmony. In general, when we look at our lives now, we are more or less good fathers, mothers, children, religious and Christians. We always aim something better for ourselves, our families and others, but sometimes, our good plans or intentions may not necessarily what God wants us to do or to be, because of the influence of our impure or selfish motivations. When we go to prayer, we surrender our good will and plans and allow God to purify them according to his light.
For many of us, prayer is asking something from God. We generally pray to beg for something. There is nothing wrong with it. God is always willing to grant our prayers especially if it is according to His will. But in our gospel today, Jesus prays to the Father, not to beg for something, but to be intimately united with the Father. And when one is intimately united with God, he freely submits his own will to the will of God, and the will of God becomes his will in the end. Some of us may be tempted to say, “Why plan for ourselves and then ask God what’s His plan for us? It’s ridiculous! Just ask God what He wants and do it.” It’s seems good and less complicated, but in doing this, we deny ourselves of our freedom to see what we ought to do and do it willingly. Thus, we fail to discover the God within us, and fail to experience our dignity as persons and our fullness as children of God. In prayer, we are invited to listen to Jesus, for us to see things the way God sees things. And as we listen to God regularly, you will be amazed how in the process, we develop the skill and the grace of sensing what God wants us to do.
There are many reasons why we are not comfortable in “listening” and rather do the “talking” under the guise of “petition” in prayer. As Christians, through our conscience and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have a “sense of knowing” and “sense of faith” what God wants from us. We know, more or less, what God would tell us or ask us to do when we pray. We deliberately avoid prayer because we don’t want to listen to God. Thus, in our gospel today, Jesus was praised by the Father for listening to Him and asked the disciples to do the same by listening to Jesus, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him."Luke 9:35.
Listening to God is not just the act of using our ears to hear the Words of God. Listening to God involves “doing or fulfilling” the Words received. Listening may also mean letting go of something (inordinate attachments, sins, vices, past, dark past, dreadful future) that hinders us to be follow God’s will and be united with Him. When Mary heard Angel Gabriel, she said, “Be it done to me according to His will.” Joseph led his family in and out of Egypt after listening to the Words of an angel in his dreams. Jesus had its share in the Garden of Gethsemane. To pray is to listen and to listen is to act. Thus, Jesus was disappointed when Peter said, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents.” He wanted to stay for it was so good to stay there with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The consolation of the moment was too good to let go. He did not understand that consolation was to give us strength to follow the footsteps of Jesus to Jerusalem. The transfiguration of Jesus was not the fruit of that single moment with the Father. It was the fruit of his daily prayer – of listening and letting God.
- Willy M. Samson, SJ / Sacred Heart Jesuit Community, Los Gatos California / Feb. 28, 2010