Take care, then, how you hear.

When it comes to reading Scripture, it can be easy to miss an important teaching if we move on too quickly. Take today’s Gospel, for instance. Jesus said that our lives should be like a light set on a lampstand. But then he says we need to be careful about “how you hear” (Luke 8:18). Hearing seems to come out of the blue.

Actually, hearing is a recurring theme in Luke 8. The parable of the sower and seed focuses on the way hearing God’s word affects our fruitfulness in his kingdom (8:11-15). Then, right after today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says that his mother and brothers “are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (8:21). That means that the way we hear and how we respond can open up a close familial relationship with Jesus. So let’s consider a few things about hearing God’s word.

Hearing is more than a function of the ears; it’s also a function of the mind. So as you sit to read the Scriptures or hear them read at Mass, do your best to stay alert and pay attention. The Lord will speak to you as you do. He knows that his words are the most important ones you can hear each day. As you prepare to listen, you might even want to pray, “Speak, Lord, for I am listening.”

Hearing is more than a function of the mind; it’s also a function of the heart. So take the time to ponder God’s word. Let it illuminate your deepest desires and motivations. Let it challenge and change you. Let the Lord help you understand how you can bring his word to bear in a specific situation. As you do, his word will become part of how you think and approach life.

In the end, hearing is more than what you can do yourself. It’s an action of God. As you pay attention and ponder, God can change your heart. He can teach you to see the world as he does. So let’s listen to God’s word today. Let’s contemplate what he might be saying to us through it. Most of all, let’s open our hearts to allow God to change us, make us fruitful, and draw us close to himself.

“Jesus, teach me how to hear the words you speak to me so that my heart can change.”

Ezra 1:1-6
Psalm 126:1-6
Luke 8:16-18


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