Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face.
Open my ears Lord. Help me to hear.
Open my hear lord. Help me to love like you. I live within you, rest now in me.
I suggested this as our Anthem throughout the Easter season. And if it wasn’t clear last week why that is so – maybe you will catch on this week.
So today, I am going to tell one of my favorite stories – so forgive me if I have already used it with you. But since it is a good story - it won’t hurt to hear it again.
A man from the country - who was used to the quiet of the night often interrupted by the sounds of animals and insects –
Was visiting his brother in very noisy New York City.
As they walked along the busy sidewalk - the brother from the country suddenly stopped and said: “I hear a cricket.”
His brother said: “Oh, your crazy. How can you possibly hear a cricket?”
“NO,” his brother said: “I hear a cricket.”
The other brother said: “It’s noon. People are bustling around, cars are honking their horns, buses are whizzing by, jack hammers are at work – and yet you say you can hear a cricket??”
“Absolutely,” his brother said. He listened for just a second - then walked over to a large cement planter sitting in front of one of the tall buildings. He dug beneath the leaf – and found a cricket.
His brother was duly astounded. But the cricket-finder said: “don’t be so surprised. My ears are trained a little different than yours being from the country. It all depends on what you are listening for. Here, let me show you.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change – a few quarters, some dimes, nickels and pennies – and he threw them up in the air.
As soon as they hit the sidewalk –every head within a block turned to look.
“You see what I mean,” said the country brother, as he began to pick up some of the coins. “It all depends on what you are listening for.”
“The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger, they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
It all depends on what you are listening for.
So are our ears tuned to the voice of the good shepherd – or to the voice of strangers. . . It certainly a lot easier to listen the voice of strangers because there are a lot more of them. They come to us on television, over the radio, through social media - from friends and even family members who want to lead us in the wrong direction – away from God and the values of the Gospel - rather than toward them. . .
The sheep follow him - because they recognize his voice.
We attune our ears to the voice of shepherd - by taking the time to read the scriptures, coming to Mass on a regular basis, spending time in prayer – and hanging out with those who support our Gospel values and encourage us to live them.
They will not follow a stranger - they will run away from him, because they do not recognize his voice.
Whose voice do we recognize?
Once there was a man who dared God to speak:
Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God. And I will follow.
Collapse the walls like you did for Joshua, God. And I will fight.
Still the waves like you did in Galilee, God. And I will listen.
And so the man sat by a bush, near a wall, close to the sea and waited for God to speak.
And God heard the man, so God answered.
God sent fire - not for bush - but for a church.
Gd brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin.
God stilled a storm not of the sea, but of a soul.
And God waited for the man to respond. And God waited, and waited – and waited.
But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts; bricks and not lives; seas and not souls – he decided that God had done nothing.
Finally he raise his voice to God and asked: have you lost your power?
And God answered firmly, but with compassion: Have you lost your senses?
Open my eyes Lord. Help me to see your face.
Open my ears Lord. Help me to hear.
Open my heart Lord, help me to love like you. I live within you, rest now in me.
Moments in time...