12 Jan 2017
My little dog, Elliott, loves to go outside. Every time I get back to the rectory, he wants to go outside. And sometimes he gets so excited that he won’t sit still. And I have to say, “Elliott, if you don’t sit still, I’m not going to be able to put your leash on you, and we’re not going to get outside.” And sometimes he listens to me, and sometimes he doesn’t.
But eventually he figures out that he has to listen to me and sit still so we can go outside. And that’s kind of how it is between us and Jesus: Jesus wants to help us, but he can’t do it if we don’t listen to him.
In the gospel, the leper came to Jesus, and Jesus healed him. But then Jesus told him, “Don’t tell anybody what I did for you. Keep that a secret.” But the man didn’t listen to Jesus, and he went around telling everybody what Jesus did for him. And, you know, he was probably really excited and really happy about what Jesus did for him . . . but still, Jesus asked him to keep it a secret. He didn’t listen to Jesus, and so Jesus had to leave the area. And because of that, Jesus couldn’t help others like he wanted to.
And so, it’s really important for us to listen to Jesus. If we listen to him, he can help us; and he can help a lot of other people, too. But only if we listen to him.
And we hear him speak to us in a lot of ways, most especially in our conscience. When we have a sense that something is right or wrong, it’s good to listen to that little voice in our soul. That’s our conscience speaking—that’s God speaking in us. And God speaks to us in other ways, too: through parents and teachers, through the pope and bishops, and wherever we hear the truth, and wherever we experience love and acceptance.
It’s really important for us to listen to Jesus. If we listen to him, he can help us; and he can help a lot of other people, too. But only if we listen to him.