Readings: Mark 4:1-34
(Mark 4:9) “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
(Mark 4:23) “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
(Mark 4:24) “Pay attention wo what you hear…”
Jesus calls his audience to listen.
When the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, has been sown in us and we listen, it transforms us; then, the next time we hear that gospel we will be only further transformed.
Jesus said “take note of what you hear. Pay attention; the measure [of attention] you give will be the measure you and receive, and then some. To those who have, more is given; but to those who do have, even what they have will be taken away.” (Mark 4:24-25)
The more attention we give to the Word, the more we will hear. And yet, if we do not listen and are not transformed, over time we will hear less and less of the good news that is in our Bible.
(That is how we end up misinterpreting it in all kinds of horrendous ways. Like those in authority using Romans 13 to justify their divine right to implement laws—that is not OK).
Each time we hear the gospel—each time we really listen to Jesus’ good news—it transforms us and makes a difference in our capacity to hear it the next time.
For example, the more I hear the gospel, the more I am convinced that Jesus does not call his followers to new laws or limitations.
Jesus calls his followers to a new way of living that sees the supreme value of every human being.
The more I hear the gospel, the more I am convinced that Jesus challenges all the habits, laws, and attitudes we have that strip the value from anyone, and Jesus’ way lifts up the ones who’ve been put down. In the Bible they are named: the poor, the stranger, the immigrant; refugees, orphans, and widows.
Jesus calls us to a life that looks beyond ourselves. His way deeply challenges the individualism, the “us first” attitudes that lead to fearing others or wanting others to fear us.
Jesus calls us instead to mutual building up, to communion and communication with all neighbors. He brings us together—never tears us apart.
Jesus is transforming the world.
He is reconciling it, making it one again, and right, with God. And that includes everybody, and everything. But his kingdom, his reign, isn’t implemented in the same way we make our rules actualized. We like to use fear and force to make others change. But,
His kingdom blossoms through you. It starts with YOU.
The Word and Kingdom of God takes root in your heart and transforms you.
Your transformation, your baptism, your call as a Christian child of God is how God is changing the world.
Jesus starts with your heart. God’s kingdom is coming through the good fruit that you produce in the world—fruit that lovingly, and relentlessly, insists on kindness, conversation, mercy, and understanding as the only ways to approach one another, the only ways that lead to anything good.
As Jesus says, “Listen!” Listen to the Word of God, for Christ is leading you deeper into the kingdom. God is drawing you closer to God’s self, closer to your neighbors, transforming your heart ever more as you listen to the good news, into a kingdom heart.
God is transforming you into one that bears fruit to spread the seeds of the kingdom.
“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”