Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Denise Stewart wrote this joke:

Two American tourists are driving through Wales. They decide to stop for a bite to eat in the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwillantysiliogogogo-goch.  

Baffled by the name, one of them turns to a local and asks,

Would you please say where we are — very slowly?

The Welshman leans over and says, very slowly,


If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!

Each and every day we hear so much, on the tv, or on the radio, or the sounds of street traffic, etc. Each day we are bombarded with noise! To hear God’s voice, we need to know how to turn down the volume!

I remember being in major seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ (very close to Newark NJ). I was homesick. I wasn’t used to the city life. I remembered taking comfort at looking up at the stars at night, so I found myself laying on the ground looking up one night, and you know what I saw? No stars! Planes! And a milky sky! The sky was simply too busy!

Our lives can be that noisy and busy as well, but not all noise is bad — such as a baby’s laugh, or a phone call from a loved one, or a favorite song comes over the radio — these can all be touches of blessing and joy.  

So where do we find ourselves finding the quiet time to slow down and be able to listen? You may think about being next to a riverbed or near the crashing waves of the ocean as you walk on the beach, or even high up on a mountain trail. For me, often at times, it’s sitting in my favorite Lazy Boy rocking chair, with the tv OFF, and me just looking at the ceiling thinking about how my day was, and what tomorrow might end up being.

In Mark’s Gospel, it stated that He taught with authority. Every time we hear the scriptures, Jesus speaks to us with that same authority! The Gospels reveal to us who Jesus is: Savior, Lord, teacher, healer, miracle worker, and even our friend. They also reveal his mission to us: love one another, feed the hungry, care for the widow and the orphan, pray for the sick, wash each other’s feet, and do this in remembrance of me.

How well are we listening? Each time that we leave Mass, or watch it on YouTube, or the internet, what do we do with what we have just heard? Do we talk about it with our family or friends? Do we let it impact our actions, our words, and our choices in the coming week?

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

People need to hear the voice of the Lord more than ever, for today there are many other voices speaking to us.

God’s voice speaks the Truth. He speaks with Love! And, with Acceptance.  God’s voice encourages us, and forgives us, and brings us together as one.

As Christians we are called to be that voice in our community, our school, our place of work, on our team, wherever His voice is needed.

This week, ask yourself: Where can you be the voice of Jesus? and What words will you say?

May the Eucharist strengthen us always to be his voice of inclusion, forgiveness, and love!

Readings for Sunday, January 31, 2021