The account of Elijah encountering God in the soft, whispering voice on Mt. Horeb is a classic image for all of us who ourselves seek God. We typically go to find God in a quiet church, a quiet mountaintop, a quiet spot in the woods, a quiet spot on the beach, or a quiet room in the house. Until we have quiet both externally and internally it is almost difficult to hear God speak. And like Elijah, we find ourselves pouring out our hearts, our troubles, our turmoils, to give voice to our frustration, our hurts, our loneliness, our desperation. Then we pause to listen to what God has to say. Whether we seek a message of hope and encouragement or a message of rebuke and disappointment, we know that God will send us back into the chaos to face the same trials and challenges. But this time, we know we are not alone. We are confident God will be with us to guide and strengthen us for the journey yet up ahead.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus acknowledges the challenges we all must face in the area of sexuality, marriage, fidelity, and chastity. These issues are a matter of justice above all else, about giving to God and to our neighbor what is proper to our state in life. Temptation brings chaos and confusion, and like the raging wind, the earthquake, and the fire that Elijah encountered, we are not inclined to find God there. As well in the face of temptation, especially suggestions that lead us away from fidelity to the marriage commitment and from chastity, it is difficult to hear God speak. We are convinced we need to find a quiet spot away from the chaos and turmoil of temptation to hear God’s voice faintly calling us to choose fidelity and chastity. I propose that God speaks in the turmoil of temptation as well. And just as temptation invites us to selfishness and sin, in the same instant God’s voice, which appears faint only because temptation has our attention, invites us to fidelity to the marriage commitment and to chastity. St. Paul himself said, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” (Romans 5: 20) The chaos and turmoil of temptation cannot rob us of peace and quiet unless we let it. And until peace and quiet is something we carry in our own hearts, we will depend on the peace and quiet around us externally before we arrive at peace and quiet internally.
We hear God’s voice better when there is peace and quiet in and around us. But if we carry peace and quiet with us always, then there will not be a time or place when we will not be able to hear God’s voice.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Ray Trykowski.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020