“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Haven’t most of us experienced a similar frustration —with our friends, children or parents —or our students or co-workers? We think that “You are not listening to anything I say! You are dismissing my thoughts and words.” In reading this Gospel, I was both struck by the universality of Jesus’ lament (people were complaining about the shortcomings of other generations 2,000 years before we were —nothing has changed) and reminded that Jesus is both fully God and fully human —with normal human emotions, including being completely exasperated. He was preaching the Gospel —the Good News —and the people were not listening!
Am I approaching the Gospel with the immediacy that it requires? Am I listening with the intensity it deserves? And, am I listening to others as I should?
—Anne Williams is Executive Director of Charis, a Jesuit ministry for young adults of the Chicago-Detroit Province. She and her husband Jim are graduates of Georgetown University and the parents of three children who have been educated at Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Il.
Teach me to listen, O God, to those nearest me, my family, my friends, my co-workers.
Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear, the message is, “Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”
Teach me to listen, my caring God, to those far from me– the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten,
the cry of the anguished.
Teach me to listen, O God my Mother, to myself. Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside —
in the deepest part of me.
Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice — in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and doubt,
in noise and in silence.
Teach me, Lord, to listen. Amen.
—John Veltri, S.J.