According to the Scriptures, the call to discipleship entails listening to the word of God, accepting the word of God we heard and living out or practicing the word of God we heard. As disciples of Christ and as Christians, one of the biggest problems we experience today is the inability to listen to God’s word. We indeed hear the word of God, but we don’t really listen to it because we listen only with our ears and not with our heart. In today’s gospel reading, Abraham response to the rich man saying ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead,’ echoes the importance of listening to the word of God. Hence, why don’t we listen to the word of God? There are many reasons why we don’t listen to God’s word, but I would like to concentrate on the following three reasons. These are my top three reasons why we don’t listen to the voice of God.

Firstly, we have our personal selfish interests, goals, gains and desires at heart that makes it impossible to hear God’s voice. Our selfishness makes it impossible for us to listen to God with our heart. We concentrate on our wants and needs which is centered on ourselves and forget the importance and significance of God in our lives. Where would you be today without the blessings, graces, mercies, guidance and assistance of God? What would you be today without his help in your life? What would you have achieved without his help? And who would you be today without him?Secondly, we are prejudiced about the message of God being given or shared with us and the messenger. This is one of the greatest problem of Christianity today and it is destroying the Church today. Prejudice which is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience has fueled our bias and has crippled the message of God to us in our Church teachings, doctrines, documents and even in our homilies. Some of us come to Mass not to give thanks to God, hear his word and receive him in communion so as to go out into the world and proclaim him. Rather, some of us are here just to fulfill our Sunday obligations. Others are here because of the priest celebrating or not celebrating the Eucharist. Others are here to teach there own teachings and not that of the Church or even make it about themselves and not about God. Even sometimes we dispute and reject the teachings of God as taught by the Church. We pick and choose which ones we like and which ones we don’t, if that is the case, what makes us Catholic Christians then?

Thirdly and lastly, we don’t listen to the voice of God because we are hardhearted in welcoming God’s word. Being hardhearted as Christians means we have become incapable of being spiritually moved to pity or tenderness by the gospel of Christ, hence we are lacking in sympathetic understanding of the gospel of Christ. How can we say we are children of God and disciples of Christ, yet we are not moved at all by his gospel? The Eucharist, the Sacraments, our liturgies, prayers and devotions have become mere routine practices for fame with no spiritual significance and importance to us as we just go through the motions or seek the praises of others instead of focusing on God.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is time to wake up from our spiritual slumber and not be like the rich man in the gospel reading today. It is time to listen to God with our hearts and let his word bear fruit in us by changing our lives for good, so that we will live out his gospel sincerely and truthfully in our world today. Amen!