23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Conflict is one of the hardest things for me. When I am presented with an issue of conflict, my own Irish Catholic heritage says, “we shall never speak of this again.” For me, being silent in the face of conflict is a way of hardening my heart.

Because sometimes when we hear God’s voice, that voice tells us to speak out and say things people may want to hear. But as difficult as that call can be, we must never turn away from that call — and it’s not easy. Because conflict is the least of our problems. Not mentioning what God calls us to say results in not only the death — spiritual or actual — of others, but in our own death as well. So what’s a little conflict in the face of that?

Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The truth is sometimes difficult, but as Christians we are always “on for” the truth, to use the words of one of my moral theology professors. We are called on — mandated, as this quotation from Sunday’s Gospel tells us — to speak the truth, proclaim the truth, insist on the truth, and live the truth. We are called to bind each other to the truth, and loose each other from the other nonsense to which this passing world would bind us. Indeed, only by binding one another to the truth can we truly loose each other from sin.

Lord, grant that when we speak, we may always speak the truth. Grant that when we hear your voice, no matter how difficult the call, we would never harden our hearts.

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