Today’s readings continue Micah’s challenge to the people of Jerusalem: “I remember the devotion of your youth.” There is something haunting about the phrase, hoisting up the image of our ventures, projects and endeavors that we begin with such enthusiasm, hope, and expectations. There is something inspiring about see a person years on that carries that same passion and hope for the now many years of efforts, the venture still ongoing.
It is not what Micah finds. He finds a people who once received the Word of the Lord with passion and endurance, but in these days the Word goes unheard, not remembered. Where once in the wilderness of the Exodus they relied upon the Lord, now “they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.” They depend upon themselves and their own resources. It is not too hard to imagine that self-dependence being the starting point where they ceased to share with “the widows, orphans, aliens, and strangers among them.” If they depended upon themselves and their resources, one must ensure there is enough for themselves and their family. Their hearts begin to harden and they no longer listen to God.
Listening has always been and continues to be problematic.
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them. (Mt 13:10-16)
In Scripture, listening/hearing have a meaning that is far deeper than auditory reception. To truly hear is to enter a life changing moment. Explore the meaning of “Listen” with our friends at The Bible Project: