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Hearers and Doers of the Word
Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, open my ears so that I hear your word. Open my mind so that I understand it. Bless my lips so that I speak it to others. Strengthen my heart to do your will.
- The Blessed Handmaid: The woman from the crowd proclaimed almost the identical message that Elizabeth did at the Visitation, found earlier in Luke’s Gospel: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). Mary responded to this with humility and obedience: “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Mary is called “blessed,” but only because she is lowly and humble. She is the Lord’s handmaid. A handmaid always kept her eyes on the hands of those whom she served. She was watching for directions given by subtle hand signals. A handmaid of the Lord is one who does the will of God, submitting completely to him. How do we imitate Mary’s virtues of humility and obedience?
- Hearing God’s Word: Blessings come to those who first hear God’s word, then do his will. The word is how we access and understand his will. God’s word comes to us in a variety of ways. In the sacraments, especially the Mass, we hear Scripture passages and prayers that are taken directly from Scripture. We also hear the priest’s homily, which can help God’s word come alive and allow us to consider how to apply it to our lives. We can hear God’s word when we read Scripture privately, and in prayer, as well. God’s word can also come to us through the words of other godly people. In all of these ways, we can hear and recognize God’s voice. What is God saying to me today.
- Doing God’s Will: St. James wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves… those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing” (James 1:22; 25). Our faith must be living and active, for “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17). One can pray, receive the sacraments, read Scripture and truly believe the word of God, but if it stops there one’s faith will not be fruitful. Fruitfulness is deeply connected to doing God’s will.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, how beautiful is your word, and how wonderful is your will. I am sorry for the times when my ears have been closed to your word or my heart has been closed to doing your will. Thank you for always calling me to love and serve you more fruitfully. Please give me the grace I need to hear and respond to your word. Especially give me the virtues of faith, wisdom, conviction, humility, and obedience.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will listen for your voice in all of the ways it comes to me. I will respond by doing whatever you ask of me.
For Further Reflection: Read the book of James, especially focusing on expressing an active faith by responding to God’s word. It is only five chapters long, but if you have just a little time, focus on the first two chapters and finish the rest later.
Carey Boyzuck, MTS, is a wife, mother, freelance writer, pastoral assistant, and lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.
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