Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)

 

Some were saying . . . ; others were saying . . . ; still others, . . .

Reports about who Jesus was were flying, and Herod was listening. But as so often is the case, the rumors caused only uncertainty by raising more questions than they answered.

Here are some of the stories Herod heard: Jesus had calmed a raging storm, healed a demoniac and a centurion’s servant and a hemorrhaging woman, and raised at least two people from the dead. And here is the way many people interpreted these stories: Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah: the blind saw, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead were raised up, and the poor had the good news preached to them (Isaiah 35:5; Luke 7:22).

It all seemed so clear, and yet Herod asked, “Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” (Luke 9:9). Herod was Jewish. He would have been familiar with the words of Isaiah. But his head was spinning, possibly full of guilt because he was living with his brother’s wife and had ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. Probably, he was afraid of retribution or of losing his power. And so his self-concern caused him to harden his heart and close his mind to the possibility that Jesus could be the Messiah.

When you listen to every voice around you, it’s easy to become bewildered or hardened. All you need is one voice, one only, to calm your heart and guide your thinking. It’s the voice of Jesus: in Scripture, in the liturgy, and in the quiet of your heart as you sit in prayer.

So when your peace is shaken by stories of sin and evil that you hear or when your own thoughts threaten to disrupt you, stop listening. Turn instead to the One who is always ready to speak simple truth to you. If you need to, begin by repenting for any sin that might stand between you and Christ. Acknowledge any self-concern that might be hardening your heart. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you sort through all the voices. Pay attention to what comes into your mind. If the thoughts are positive, helpful, loving, or merciful, they’re probably from the Holy Spirit.

Let God speak to you; let him silence all the other voices.

“Holy Spirit, I believe you want to speak words of truth to me today—the truth that can set me free. Help me to hear your voice more clearly.”

Haggai 1:1-8
Psalm 149:1-6, 9

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