Looking for God? Be Quiet

A portion of Fr Vallee’s homily on the last Sunday of Lent

We will be judged based on what we hear and how we hear, on what we are listening for in our lives. You see, and this is the point, grace is all around us and within us. There is no place in all of creation where grace is not present. The problem is that some of us are listening and some of us are not. Actually the problem is more subtle than that. The problem is that even those of us who might be listening are only listening sometimes and none of us is listening perfectly, as Jesus listens. The irony is that God is always speaking but we misinterpret it – sometimes we only hear the loud and horrible crack of thunder, sometimes we hear the veiled whispering of angels. Only rarely do we catch a bit of the voice of God. God is always speaking but sin and hurt are like wax in our ears. To borrows a phrase from Augustine, we must find a way to clear out the “ears of our hearts.” The voice of God is there for our sakes. We will be judged, and are being judged, on what we are listening for and what we hear. Angels are better than thunder. But God is better than angels. Listen! Listen carefully! God is in all this mess. But he tends to speak more in silence than in shouts. The thing is we have grown so noisy that we can’t hear much of anything below the level of a shout. Shhhh! Be quiet, that’s where God is.

The email address to request to be put on Vallee’s email distribution list is Cioran262@aol.com. To see the entire homily click on ‘read more.’ Search for other Fr Vallee homilies in this blog by entering ‘Vallee’ in the search box in the upper left hand corner.

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Fr Vallee Homily: Last Sunday of Lent

I. Sir, we would like to see Jesus
There is an odd and lovely passage in today’s Gospel: “Some Greeks came to Philip and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus. Philip goes and tells Andrew. Then Andrew and Philip go and tell Jesus.” I say this is odd because it seems so out of character for Jesus who tended to meet and talk with anyone who came up to him. In fact, he precisely gets into trouble with the religious authorities because he is not too picky about the company he keeps – Prostitutes, tax collectors and Samaritans, for example. Here, it seems more like the wonderful land of Oz: “No one gets in to see the Wizard, not no way, not no how!”

II. Two Possible explanations
We must consider two possibilities which might help to explain this oddity. First, remember that Jesus had just cleared the Temple and as he says, “His hour was upon him.” It was, doubtless, dangerous for Jesus to appear so publicly at this point. The cleansing of the Temple made a lot of very powerful people very angry. So the Greeks might not have been able to find Jesus just teaching in the streets and the Temple courtyard as he had always done. The authorities were looking for a way to trap him. A second possible explanation is that the Greeks had to go through Philip as a translator. Philip is a Greek name. He, perhaps, spoke Greek. Andrew and Jesus almost surely did not; Mel Gibson’s fancy of making Jesus an omniglot notwithstanding.

III. Jesus does not respond, voice of the Father
Of course, however, the most interesting part of the story is the response of Jesus. We have no way of knowing whether Jesus meets with the Greeks or not. Jesus does not seem to respond to the request at all. Instead, he launches into an anguished meditation about he coming Passion and Death. It is almost as though he sees the end coming and has no time left for social engagements, trivialities or small talk. He turns to talk to his Father and the Father responds: “I have glorified your name and I will continue to glorify it.” What I have always found interesting is the reaction of the people who are standing around to the voice of the Father. Some just hear thunder, a meaningless noise. Others hear what sounds like the voice of an angel, pure intellectual or intuitive knowledge. Jesus hears the voice of his Father. Then Jesus says, “It is not for my sake that the voice came, but for yours. Now is the judgement of this world.”

IV. Conclusion
To me this is fascinating and deeply profound. We will be judged [we are being judged–I assume this is included as a typo–JC] based on what we hear and how we hear, on what we are listening for in our lives. You see, and this is the point, grace is all around us and within us. There is no place in all of creation where grace is not present. The problem is that some of us are listening and some of us are not. Actually the problem is more subtle than that. The problem is that even those of us who might be listening are only listening sometimes and none of us is listening perfectly, as Jesus listens. The irony is that God is always speaking but we misinterpret it – sometimes we only hear the loud and horrible crack of thunder, sometimes we hear the veiled whispering of angels. Only rarely do we catch a bit of the voice of God. God is always speaking but sin and hurt are like wax in our ears. To borrows a phrase from Augustine, we must find a way to clear out the “ears of our hearts.” The voice of God is there for our sakes. We will be judged, and are being judged, on what we are listening for and what we hear. Angels are better than thunder. But God is better than angels. Listen! Listen carefully! God is in all this mess. But he tends to speak more in silence than in shouts. The thing is we have grown so noisy that we can’t hear much of anything below the level of a shout. Shhhh! Be quiet, that’s where God is.
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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
This entry was posted in Catholic Faith & Inspiration and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Looking for God? Be Quiet

  1. Robert says:

    Too often we expect God to smack us in the face with something, whether it’s an answer to a prayer or some other “sign”. I take Fr Vallee’s message to be: God’s grace is in the little things, the things that don’t shout out and scream for us to notice. It’s not the big promotion or the brand new car, or the Marlins getting their new stadium. It’s about the simple fact that we’re alive and in control of our lives. Our children, our spouses, things we see every day and take for granted, but are daily blessings.

  2. Jorge Costales says:

    Well said Robert. Partly to meet expectations as an overly-opinionated blogger [i.e. avoiding getting my blogger-card suspended] and partly to earn brownie points at my Catholic RCIA classes, I’ll make the following minor amendment to your statement, with your permission of course:We are in control of our actions, but not our lives. When we are able to do that–in Emmaus that is referred to as ‘Letting Go and Letting God’–it is a liberating realization which allows us to fully appreciate exactly the type of blessings you wrote of.

  3. Robert says:

    Your wordsmithing is appreciated and duly noted, Jorge. That’s actually what I meant to say (easy for THIS over-opinionated blogger to say after the fact), but you’re 100% correct. It’s actions. Everything else falls into place according to God’s will.

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