We are Here to Hear!Fr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
Jesus uses a phrase in the Gospels that I have always found to be both challenging and intriguing: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The Lord uses the phrase in all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and in John 8:47 the Lord declares “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
So, it seems being able to hear the truth is dependent on much more than merely a working auditory nerve!
It seems the Lord also is reaching out to those whose hearts are also open to hearing the truth.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard wisdom about my own life only to ignore that wisdom and watch my life head for the ditch all the while “knowing” what went wrong! Over and over again I struggle with the gap between knowing what’s right, and doing what’s wrong!
And it all starts with my unwillingness to really “hear” the truth and follow it (Him!)
So, how do I get and keep really “hearing” ears?
In our Scripture Lesson today we see a pivotal moment in the life of the young Christian community after the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. St. Paul has come from the city of Joppa to the house of a GENTILE, and a Roman Centurion at that. Merely walking into this Gentile’s house has made him ceremonially “unclean” because he’s in the house of a “stranger” to the Jewish nation. And waiting in this house is a commanding officer in the occupying army that holds the nation of Israel under political power and taxation. This is not a popular move on St. Peter’s part!
Look at Acts 10:21-33. St. Peter arrives at Cornelius’ home and Cornelius has gathered his entire family, including his servants and all his extended family in the area. They have all gathered there because this good man, Cornelius, has told them a man is coming to them from God to tell them Good News! When St. Peter comes into his house, Cornelius displays before his family and friends the kind of man he is: he immediately bows before Peter and submissively honors this Jewish fisherman! And St. Peter then displays the kind of man he is by lifting Cornelius up and saying that he is a man just like Cornelius. What a fine example of humility and true authority!
St. Peter recognizes the irony of a Jew in the home of a Roman soldier and he says “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” (Acts 10:28-29)
Cornelius tells St. Peter about his vision and then he adds the key phrase: “Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:31)
To have hearing ears that reach all the way into your heart and change your behavior requires preparation through devotion and prayer, willingness to obey without question, and the presence of mind and body to be open when Truth is presented before you!
Today, if you are ever going to hear the Truth deep enough to change your life and set you free, you’re going to need to prepare your heart through the disciplines of prayer and worship so that your spiritual ears are sensitive to the Voice of the Lord when He speaks through the wisdom of the faith. You’re going to have to cultivate through practice obedience to the Truth when you really hear it by obeying in the “little” things now like consistent worship, consistent Scripture reading and the lives of the Saints, and regular and purposeful practice of the disciplines of the faith like fasting and almsgiving. Only then will your ears be sufficiently “tuned in” to hear wisdom that sinks deep enough into your soul to change your life! Today, are you in the right place to really hear the Truth and follow Him?