Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou. For many people all over the world some of the first words of Scripture heard every day, prayed every day, are these words from Psalm 94 “If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts.” Those words are always a reminder to me that praying the Prayer of the Church is not just me praying the words, but also an invitation every day to listen for the voice of God.
Since the beginning of this year, and particularly since the whole country went into Alert Level Four we have faced very challenging and changing times. These last few months have been very hard for everyone and it appears that even though the levels have changed again that this pandemic is going to affect the world for a long time to come.
Are we listening to the voice of the Lord? Are we hearing what God is saying to us and are we ready to change? On 30th August Pope Francis said: “If the virus were to intensify again in a world that is unjust to the poor and vulnerable, then we must change the world…. May the Lord help us and give us the strength to come out of it better, responding to the needs of today’s world”.
Two days later he continued on the same theme, saying: “The pandemic is a crisis, and we do not escape from a pandemic the same as before: either we come out of it better, or we come out of it worse. We must come out of it better, to counter social injustice and environmental damage. Today we have an opportunity to build something different.”
Are we listening for the voice of the Lord? Are we seeing the opportunity to build something different? I have heard so many speaking about the things they appreciated during Level Four Lockdown. People took great care of one another, shopped for their elderly neighbour, spoke to their neighbours and haven’t done so since; families walked and exercised together, many took delight in gardening and enjoying nature, people read and reflected and prayed in new ways. People contacted others by phone or email, or dropped off meals to the lonely and housebound., went out of their way to assist the poor and those struggling to put food on their tables.
Now, I hear many saying that we have just gone back to the way it was before Lockdown. We really do have an opportunity to do something different. “If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts.”
Naku noa +John