Saturday, 26 November 2011

Year 12 Valedictory - 2011

Luke 8:16-18
No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.
Pay attention to how you listen…

The gospel speaks of a lamp and a lamp stand and light.

Jesus, the Word of God, the Light of the world, is, of course, the lamp of God. God did not put him ‘under a jar’ or ‘under a bed’, as the gospel says, but put him on a lamp stand, on the Cross, so that his light would be seen by all.

Jesus is ‘the Word of God’. If you find that difficult to process just think of how, not a long time from now, many of you will be married and beginning to have children of your own. The word of your love for your wife, for your husband, will become flesh. You will be able to hold up your infant and say to your spouse: This is my love for you – made flesh.

Jesus is God’s word of love – made flesh – a Word which continues to be spoken to the world through the Church and her Sacred Scriptures.

Pay attention to how you listen…

The great Trappist monk Basil Pennington used to say that each of us was ‘a kind of listening’. He said that our ability to listen is determined by the totality of everything that has been a part of our lives since we were born. Our whole life has had a role in shaping the listening that we are.

And so, as things are spoken I can hear only those things which fall within the ‘bandwidth’, so to speak, of my listening.

If I am a very ‘set’ person, very rigid in my ideas and convictions and my ways then that is all I’ll get; all I’ll ever get.

But if I am a person open to the whole truth, then my listening will expand over the years, my ‘bandwidth’ will increase and I myself will grow.

Pay attention to how you listen…

But I must add that not every word is worth listening to. Some words will try to steal from you and then: even what you seem to have will be taken from you.

Make a habit of listening to the Word of God made flesh – his word alone enriches, matures, gives wisdom, peace, joy and life.

I met a young man in the United States some years ago who had experienced in his life most of the things parents pray their kids will never experience. We became friends and I advised him to make a daily habit of reading Scripture, as I was and am in the habit of doing. He wrote me a year later: I have read the bible every day and it’s putting me back together again.

So let me end by proclaiming again those wise words from Scripture: Pay attention to how you listen…

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