Listen to Him

Second Sunday of Lent A–Genesis 12:1-4 and Matt. 17:1-9

One of the beautiful things about young people of faith is that they listen to God’s voice. I saw this last night as I visited our youth retreat where fifteen of the teens of our parish gathered to discuss what they want to do with their lives, where they want to live, and how they might be able to serve. A sad fact of life, however, is that as we grow older, as we arrive at our profession, we can become settled in our ways. We begin to think that God has nothing more to tell us, so we stop listening.

This is why Abraham is such an amazing example of faith in today’s first reading. God calls Abraham to leave his home and to travel to a place that God will indicate to him. At the time of this call, Abraham was seventy-five years old. Yet this great old man stirred to the voice of God. He gathered his family, packed his things, and hit the road. He became the father of the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem faiths. He was seventy-five years old, but he still listened to God’s voice.

If Abraham can do it, so can we. Today’s readings tell us that we are never too young or too old for God to call us to some new thing. That is why the voice in today’s gospel tells the disciples “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” It’s the fundamental directive to every disciple: “Listen to him.”

So at the beginning of life, when we must decide what to do with our abilities, and talents, and opportunities, the important question is not how much money will I make, or how many people will admire me, or even what will make me happy. The important question is what is God calling me to. Take time, and listen.

If you are in the midst of life, settled in your occupation and responsibilities, do not think that God has nothing else to say to you. You have your profession, but maybe God is calling you to live it in a deeper way. Beyond your competence, and success, God could be calling you to be a healer or a helper with the people with whom you work. You live in a network of family and friends. God could be calling you to intervene in a dispute among your relatives, or to stand by someone who is suffering because of loss. God wants more from you. Listen to him.

And if you find yourself retired, you know the landscape. You might think that nothing more is expected of you. Don’t be so sure. Weren’t you the person who in your forties really wished you could work in a soup kitchen but did not have the time? Now you do. Maybe God is calling you to that. Didn’t you just this week complain to your friends about the miserable political climate in our country, how few of our leaders have integrity and moral character.? Well, this is an election year. Maybe God is calling you to be politically active and to support a candidate that you think will bring us closer to God’s will for us. God never stop’s calling. Listen to him.

Of course, when God calls us to something new, it can be difficult. We wonder whether we have the resources and stamina to do it. We worry about what people will think if we step out of what is expected. That is why Jesus tells the disciples in today’s gospel “Rise, do not be afraid.” Whatever he says to them, he says to us. When God calls us to do some new thing, he will not abandon us. So listen to him, and do not be afraid.

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