Is this the well-trained tongue of the good homilist, today? But before speaking, the homilist, as the prophet notes must first have a well-tuned ear, open to listening. Indeed this is so true and necessary. But it goes beyond the homilist, and is a exhortation to all of us: LISTEN before opening the mouth. Now, this is very difficult.

The listening is to one’s own wounds, but further, in the context of the prophet’s whole message to the cries of the poor and the call of the blood. Perhaps it is the voice of Jesus, perhaps the Holy Spirit that we also hearken to. Listening is a deeper form of prayer that begging intercessions. Listening in prayer requires a deeper silence, a stilling of the mind, so that there is room for what is heard.

After this listening, then the word spoken aims to speak to and rouse the weary. This is the work of the evangelizing disciples. Harsh judgments, condemnations, finger pointing do not rouse the weary. Every sinner is weary, and for this reason they return to the Lord in the confessional after 20, 30, and 40 years. Their experience there in that moment should be of welcoming mercy.

Because “the Lord is my help”, then I can relentless set my face to the task. The flint image suggests the firmness of the commitment, but more than that the fire flint ignites, which is of the Holy Spirit.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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