CONTINUING OUR MESSAGE SERIES
This weekend I continue with homily #3 of my latest message series called “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” This weekend I am at Blessed Sacrament/St. Agnes and on the March 26/27 weekend, I will conclude the message series at St. Joseph/St. Ursula. This series has spanned the last weeks of Ordinary Time and now the first few weeks of Lent. It is all about trying to listen to God and each other better. There is no question that we need to do that more as we are hopefully entering a post-pandemic world that needs to re-connect in a meaningful and powerful way. I also hope that we as people of faith take the extra time to open our hearts to God’s grace so that we can be better and more faithful disciples willing to share the Good News in our daily lives.
HOMILY #1 – TOO MUCH NOISE
In the first homily of the series I shared about a TED talk by Julian Treasure, a communications expert, as he presented five ways to listen better. There is too much noise in the world where we have replaced dialogue and conversation with broadcasting. We don’t really listen to one another but try to be the loudest attempting to dominate and impose our ideas, thoughts and beliefs. For us to truly listen better we really need to open our minds and hearts, stop simply broadcasting and consciously listen to each other to facilitate understanding. Our world is too noisy!!
HOMILY #2 – SILENCE AND SAVOURING
In the second homily of the series I once again referred back to Julian Treasure’s TED talk as he offers us five ways to listen better—two of these ways include SILENCE and SAVOURING. We really need to quiet our hearts, minds and surroundings so that we can be attentive to the subtle and understated, being sure not to miss out on what God and others have to share with us. We also need to savour the mundane sounds in our lives so that we can again train our ears, minds and hearts to not filter out all sounds but to actually appreciate the differences of the various voices in our lives. I also shared about the upcoming synod where Pope Francis is asking the Church to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit through all of us.
BEING A SOUND ENGINEER
I’m no sound technician but I do know my way around an audio mixer through the years—especially in churches. One of the five ways Julian Treasure says can help us listen better is to hear the many different channels of sound that is around us. If we can hear various channels, we can then turn up the quiet ones while turning down the loud ones so that our hearts can listen and understand how God and others speak to us. This becomes extremely crucial for us as there are so many audio channels that compete for our attention. To be a faithful disciple we really do need to be a sound technician—willing to use a mixer so that we can hear clearly.
LENT IS IN THE MIX
I hope and pray that everyone’s Lenten journey is a meaningful one. We all have our own traditions during this time of renewal, conversion and healing that help us draw closer to God and one another. Many have given up things for the 40 days and others have committed to spending more time in prayer or service to others. Lent is definitely a time for us to adjust the mix of what we hear in our lives seeking that balance which helps us become the best people we can be.
THE NEED TO TUNE IN
I’m a fan of AM TALK radio in addition to various podcasts. I remember the days when you had to adjust the radio signal using a dial and not a seek button. You had to adjust the antenna and slowly turn the tuning dial finding the exact spot where the signal becomes crystal clear. Often you had to turn back and forth until you had the exact position to really hear the songs, news or your favourite team play. It took some work to get that clear and constant signal.
The gift of our faith also requires constant tuning so that we can clearly receive the grace, love and mercy that God has to offer. In the gospel this weekend, we hear another epiphany moment discovering once again who Jesus really is. In the scene of the Transfiguration, we hear the voice of God say, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Gospel of Luke). We need to be sure that we adjust our hearts and lives so that we can clearly receive the signal of heavenly grace which helps us be true and faithful disciples in our world today. Here are a few ways that we can tune in and be transformed by God’s eternal love.
(1) PERSONAL PRAYER
There is no question that prayer is at the foundation of our faith lives. Our own daily prayer is really a way for us to tune the dial of our hearts so that we can listen to the Lord. Prayer is about conforming ourselves to His grace and not about convincing Him to go our way. Daily regular prayer, like exercise, helps us tune in and stay up to date!!
(2) EUCHARIST & CONFESSION
What truly feeds our faith live? Christ himself in the gift of the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Peace—both necessary if we are going to have the courage to be light and hope in our world. These two great sacraments are not for our personal benefit alone, but a chance for us to be nourished and loved so that we can be Christ for others.
(3) EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
An examination of our lives at the end of the day really helps us stay tuned in on the channel of God’s light. This is something very easy to do and doesn’t take a lot of time. Before going to sleep think about all the good things that happened to you in the day and thank God for them. Then think about the things that didn’t go so well and ask God for forgiveness. Finally, commit to working on those things that didn’t go so well tomorrow. Over time, this can be a very effective way of staying on track while fixing and healing the areas of our lives that need attention.
(4) SERVE THOSE IN NEED
Our faith is most fully expressed in action helping those in need. Right now Bishop Fabbro has asked us to help the people of Ukraine with financial support through the papal charity CNEWA Canada (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) at www.cnewa.org/ca I know that in the near future we as a family of parishes will also venture to support refugees to our city once the Canadian government and our Diocesan Refugee Office works out all the details and protocols.