John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Whoever lets the words of the Master resound in his heart and does the will of God becomes his disciple. [*1] - Bishop Luis Armando Collazuol
The disciple's ear is one attuned all the time to the voice of the Lord. But there are many distractions in the world. So many noises attack the ears mercilessly and so much unwelcome clutter invades the eyes, bombarding us constantly with sounds and images demanding attention, listen to this, look at that, music that penetrates the ears and wreaking havoc on our senses. These noises and sounds made by man and his machines are forever intruding on your space that they seem to offer no respite. Even at home I come to the noise of the TV or the music from the younger ones, and ofttimes these sounds play together not really competing with one another but actually complementing one another in some overture of cacophony that drills my brain into some kind of stupor. Many times I have to wait till the sounds die down and find the silence of my heart where the Lord speaks his gentle words. But most times, it becomes too late in the night and the voice of the pillow and the bed beckons more convincingly and draws me to bed, yet again drowning the voice of the Master.
As Bishop Luis Armando says, the words of the Master must resound in our hearts. they must echo and reverberate, in such a way that the Master's voice becomes one with the beating of the heart, especially the heart that is really our soul, to attune it to God, who constantly demands our attention, as He says, Love me with all your heart. Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Dt 6:4-5). And He is a jealous God (Exod. 20:5). Once you get to know him, he wants to tell you more things, very much like a loved one, who once they get your confidence, cannot stop chatting and tell you things, some of which are strange, some of which you don't even want to hear or to know. But they're there anyway. God speaks to our heart, not necessarily in words, but in murmurings of the spirit, like the sweet gentle voice that Elijah experienced on his appointment with God at Mt Horeb (1 Kings 19:12). Murmur of a gentle breeze. Tiny whispering sound. But which sometimes can turn harsh when he wants to emphasize some truth or drill his will that the voice sounds so urgent that there is no way to turn a deaf ear to it. All we can do is how Samuel responded, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Sam 3:10).
I remember from the last Worker's Recollection when Fr Larry Faraon said that the words LISTEN and OBEY are just the one word in Hebrew. My listening with my ears, my taking it to heart, my execution of what is expected, is all wrapped up in that one word SHEMA. Going back to Dt 6:4 SHEMA, ISRAEL (Hear, O Israel!) - That word SHEMA telling us to listen and obey. Listen up and do it. The challenge is always there for us especially in these difficult times when the voice of God is crowded out not ony by the noise and humming and buzzing around us, but also by the cries of lament of the people suffering we see and hear from the news, from the strident anger in the disputes of the neighbours next door, to the necessary demands of the people under our care, be it at home or in the church front. We still need to be people of the SHEMA, listening and obeying, treasuring the words of the Lord in our hearts, constantly looking for opportunities to do his will, wherever he leads us, and thus truly becoming disciples.
Letting the words of the Master resound in our hearts also means this: uniting ourselves to the person of Jesus. The devotion of the twin hearts of Jesus and Mary is about the two hearts becoming one, making the Blessed Virgin the first and perfect disciple that she is, who treasured these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19) - but whose own soul would be pierced (Luke 2:35) because of this unity of hearts. Last August, I had the privilege of meeting Bishop Heriberto Bodeant from Uruguay. I also had the privilege of being blessed by him specifically for my service in the local parish church. Bishop Heriberto had a gentle and humble spirit, played the guitar like a professional, and sang beautifully. He was the friendliest bishop I have ever met and he also graciously signed a dedication on my bible: “May the word of God illuminate you and strengthen you to be a disciple and missionary. + Heriberto, Bishop of Melo, 13/08/2009“ In a letter from Bishop Heriberto, during a month for vocations this year, he had this to say for being disciples: "It is true that Jesus is a Master. The disciples call him that and he accepts that. But soon they discover that Jesus is more than a Master, and they become truly his disciples not because they learn a bunch of teachings but rather above all because they unite themselves to the person of Jesus and to his mission of doing the will of the Father." [*2] There you go, such powerful insight on discipleship. It is not about a Master-Servant relationship, but rather about becoming one with the Master in an intimate manner. Jesus says: I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. (John 15:15).
The El Shaddai pilgrims from interstate have come, filled with excitement to share their precious time with the seventeenth anniversary of the Sydney Chapter. They have come to share their joy together with all the trials and challenges they may be experiencing. They have heard the call, the call pulsed and vibrated, then echoed tireless melodies in their heart, beating to the rhythm of the soul, becoming more and recognisable as the voice of the Master, who is calling his friends to the banquet, the sound so similar to the call of "SHEMA, ISRAEL".
Lord, let your voice echo in our hearts, let your words be resonate in our spirit, and in our mind, let our hearts unite with yours, that we may be your disciples and always be part of the flock that listens to your voice. Amen.
Copyright 2009 BRoME.
[*1] Quien deja resonar en su corazón la voz del Maestro y hace la voluntad de Dios, se hace su discípulo. Homilía de monseñor Luis Armando Collazuol, obispo de Concordia y asesor nacional de la Acción Católica (Estadio del Club Atlético Témperley, 12 de octubre de 2009)
[*2] Es cierto que Jesús es un maestro. Los discípulos lo llaman así y Él lo acepta… pero pronto van a descubrir que Jesús es mucho más que un maestro, y van a hacerse realmente sus discípulos no porque aprendan un conjunto de enseñanzas sino, sobre todo, porque se van a unir a la persona de Jesús y a su misión de hacer la Voluntad del Padre. Carta de Monseñor Heriberto A. Bodeant por mes vocacional en Uruguay - junio 2009
El Shaddai House
Tel/Fax: (02) 9625 5333