The Responsorial Psalm this week happens to be one of my favorite scripture passages from the bible. Perhaps because I recognize it as a big weakness I still have to overcome in my life – listening for the voice of the Lord AND then heeding what He says. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” It is easy for us to shut out the voice of God, simply not listening at all. But I suspect many of us hear what He is saying to us, but are ‘guilty’ of allowing our hearts to harden. I know that I for one certainly am.

As Vincentians, we are confronted every time we go on a home visit with hearing the voice of God. It may not be in the words spoken or requests made, but rather in the unspoken, the needs that are evident if only we open our eyes wide. It isn’t just the visits either – it is in the everyday living. Do we sidestep that person who seems needy or disagreeable? Do we proactively identify the hidden needs or only react to those who ask? Do we offer kindness and compassion at every opportunity? I am reminded of Matthew’s gospel which we will hear on Christ the King at the end of this year in which we are reminded that Christ comes to us in every stranger – and friend – we meet. Do we recognize Him? Do we hear His voice? Do we open our hearts?

Lord Jesus, give me humility, patience, compassion, kindness and gentleness that I may see your face in the stranger before me. Open my ears that I may hear your voice. Open my heart that I may respond to your call. Allow me to overcome my prejudices, my fears, and my hesitations that I may embrace those opportunities you grace me with to be your face to others. Let me open the door of friendship, help, compassion and mercy to all who pass by me.

We pray all of this in your name.

Deacon Mike