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The readings from today’s lectionary read like a cautionary tale. . . It might be written as “Wake up!” or “Pay attention!” or even “Can you not hear me when I’m talking to you?” The repetition makes me wonder what was wrong with those people!

  1. First reading: The Holy Spirit says: Oh, that today you would hear God’s voice, “Harden not your hearts…in the day of testing in the desert when your ancestors tested and tried me…Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart…” (Heb. 3:7-14)
  2. Psalm response: I said: “This people’s heart goes astray, they do not know my ways. Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter into my rest!” (PS. 95)
  3. Gospel: The story of a leper made clean by Christ who told the man not to tell people what had happened but only to go, to show the priest and offer the prescribed donation for the healing. The man went immediately and did the exact opposite: to publicize what had happened so that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly to do his mission. (MK. 1: 40-45)

I say this is a cautionary tale whose theme might be: If today you hear God’s voice… “What was wrong with those people?” I asked. I might have said instead: “What is wrong with our world today?” We know the rules, the laws, the best behavior. We see what has happened in our country when people live only out of their own greed and headstrong actions. Do we stand apart from the crowd, complaining about “those people” or do we speak from what we know to be God’s voice in us?

We need a course correction. Each one of us must ask how we are living up to our call. If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.