Listening to God’s Heart – It’s what God says to us and through us that matters (Holy Week and Easter 2024)

A Message from Fr Mark…

It’s what God says to us and through us that matters

Over these past five and a half weeks of Lent, since Ash Wednesday, as part of this Year of Prayer, I’ve been encouraging us all to “Listen to God’s Heart”. I began by quoting St. Mother Theresa of Kolkata, “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” On the First Sunday of Lent, I encouraged you to “step forward in faith”, taking time each day to prayerfully risk opening yourself to a new way of hearing God whispering His Love into the depth of your being. Then I asked you to heed the command of our heavenly Father and “listen to His beloved Son”, knowing that “hearing God is necessary for friendship with God”.

I invited you to a deeper awareness that often “actions speak louder than words” and that God announces His immense Love to us, powerfully and personally, through the free gift of Jesus and His life, death and resurrection.

Then, last weekend, I used the story of a farmer in a big city, somehow able to hear a cricket in spite of the din around him, to remind us that “we hear what our ears are trained to hear”. In training our own ears to hear God and then doing what he says, by obeying him, we can yield a rich harvest of freely-given, obediently-offered, life-transforming, sacrificial love, all for the glory of God.

This weekend we enter into Holy Week. Our First Reading comes from the prophet Isaiah. It is a portion of the Song of the Suffering Servant. Our passage begins:

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

What a beautiful image!

This week we will be given the opportunity to meditate upon the Passion of Jesus. He had spent his life speaking His Father’s Word of Life, “replying” to the wearied. Now he becomes wearied for our sake.

The Sovereign Lord gave his Servant all he needed to be obedient – a disciple’s tongue so that he could speak “the word that sustains the weary;” an opened ear so that he could listen to the word of his Father and always obey, even when it was difficult. Contrary to Israel that often persecuted the weak and weary and worn, Jesus sought them out in his mercy. And unlike Israel that was often deaf to God’s word, Jesus’ was always perfectly attuned to God’s word. Though the enemies would humiliate him, Jesus would not be put to shame, because the Sovereign Lord would ultimately vindicate his Servant by raising him from the dead.

Jesus offers a word of comfort to the weary and worn and sad who languish in Exile or in sin. God’s last and best word is not an explanation or even a promise; it is a person, this Servant who would do all they had not done and suffer as though he had committed all their sin. The Sovereign Lord would deliver them by the active and passive obedience of the Suffering Servant named Jesus.

Jesus wants us to be his disciples! He wants us to learn from him, to follow him, to become like him. Therefore, each day, he wakes you to hear, to listen like a disciple! To listen to his voice and do what he instructs.

Why does he do this? So you may then speak in his name, pouring forth not empty, meaningless nonsense, but His Word. He wants you to know how to reply to the wearied, on His behalf. You are God’s “personalised special delivery system” of hope and encouragement, joy and strength, courage and peace to those who labour and are over-burdened. Our Father so desperately wants to pour out his immense and healing Love onto our broken world but to do that he needs you. More, he needs you to listen to Him so that you know what to say.

What a beautiful privilege!

Please come and join us for our Holy Week liturgies. It really is the most beautiful and powerful time of our Church year.

“I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence-we need to listen to God because it’s not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters”. – Mother Teresa