A middle-aged woman walked into the slums of a large city. She had two dollars in her purse, had no income, and no place to stay. All she had was deep conviction that God was calling her to doing something for the poor in that area. And she felt certain that, if the call was really from God, that he would provide all that was needed. She was convinced later that it was God calling her to do something special, thus she declared, ““I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.”
That woman was Mother Teresa. She founded the Religious Order called Missionaries of Charity, whose mission was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” To date her legacy continues to flourish and cherished by many having over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries in the world.
Friends, Mother Teresa is one of the many ‘heroes’ of our Christian faith, who had really listened to the word of God, accepted it, embraced it, nurtured it. We know, that because of her willingness and openness to the word of God, she bore fruit a hundredfold. It was just because she accepted the word of God with an open heart, trusting that God will really provide whatever she needs in her mission to care for all people, regardless of color, race, religion, status, etc. She listened to the pleading of a dying person hanging on the cross, ‘I thirst.’ For her, this is the Word of God, and truly is. She listened to the word God faithfully and now we believe she is in the company with the saints in heaven.
Our Gospel today tells us of a parable of a God as a sower who is sowing seeds on his field. This is a rather unusual gospel since here, Jesus explained the meaning of the parable, unlike the other parables in the gospels when the audience are expected to figure out what the parable means.
We know and our experience can affirm this, that God speaks to us in many and varied ways. Sometimes it’s hard to take in. Sometimes, it’s do-able, and sometimes impossible. Sometimes we might say, “God must be crazy,” if he wants us to do this or to do that. But no, it is not the issue for God. The real issue is in us, on how we take in his words. As Jesus explained in the gospel, it depends on our disposition, on our attitude towards the word of God. True, we can say, “Oh it’s the only the saintly people who can take the word of God, with an open heart, with total trust and absolute acceptance.” Yes, it is difficult for us, but it is not impossible.
Furthermore, in our day and age, it is a big challenge to listen to the word of God very well. We have ‘google’ to answer our questions. We have shops to go to and to buy our needs and wants. We have places to go and enjoy and break the monotony of life. We have PC, i-phone, ipad, ipod, that would break our boredom by listening to music or whatever. So, what else do we need? Or we say, “I couldn’t hear God speaking to me or anything.” Yes, maybe because of all the different voices and noise in the world that hinder us from listening to God. Yet, no matter how loud the voice and noise of the world today, God’s voice always prevails. And we can tell this. No matter how rich we are, no matter how updated we are in terms of modern technologies, no matter how famous we are, no matter how safe we are, at the end of the day, especially when alone, we feel this inner longing, craving for something deeper and meaningful, we feel certain emptiness within.
This is for me God, calling us to a deeper union with him, to a personal relationship with him. He continually calls us everyday. He always speaks out his word to us everyday, in every aspect of our lives, in whatever we do, wherever we go, whoever we are. Whether we listen to it with open heart, or we play deaf to it, it always leaves something in us, as Isaiah would tell us today in the First Reading, “As the rain and the snow come from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth…so also with the word of God…”
How to listen the voice of God today amidst the different voices and noise in the world? Few Practical hints: 1. Get a Bible, read it not all at once as in a novel, but reflect on certain passage. 2. Spend some time with a good friend and talk about what’s happening in your life. 3. Reflect on your life’s experiences, go to a retreat or a recollection. 4. Review your life’s priorities. 5. Go to Church, and be one with the community, listening to God speaking in, through and on behalf of the assembly. 6. Develop a daily meditation on the Scriptures, or spiritual reading. 7. Read the Lives of the Saints.
There are just but few of the million other ways and means through which God speaks to us. Like Mother Teresa, we are invited to listen to God speaking to us in and through our unique, personal and individual circumstances, capacities and abilities. Likewise, we are also called to reflect on our attitude, our disposition towards God’s call for us. Let this be our prayer today. And if we accept God’s word with an open heart and respond to it faithfully, according to His will, we can be assured that He will be our guide, our counselor, our best friend, our provider, etc. Mother’ Teresa’s life is a concrete testimony of this faithful response to the word of God.