During the Epiphany season, we hear about our Lord manifesting – revealing – Himself as God in the flesh. He speaks and acts, showing all that He is the Christ. His Word to both Jew and Gentile declares liberty from sin, death, and the devil – and actually makes it happen!
The season begins and ends with blessed words from the Father admonishing us: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:5 ESV)
Listen to Him. We are offered several opportunities every week to listen to Him. At the Divine Service, we hear the Word of Christ in the lessons from Scripture, in the preaching of that Word, and even in the words of the holy liturgy itself. There is a blessed irony: as you sing the divine liturgy, you are declaring God’s Word to those around you, and even to yourself!
Listen to Him. In Sunday School and Bible Classes, opportunities abound (and so do the vacant seats!) to sit at Jesus’ feet, like Mary of Bethany, and hear Him teach us. So many more could be joining us for this time of catechesis -- this time of hearing His Word. We have many faithful members in our parishes who teach and other faithful ones who attend this receiving of our Lord’s Word.
Listen to Him. As you bring your children to receive the saving washing of Holy Baptism, they are joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Their Old Adams die and the Lord gives them new birth as His children. At this miracle, our Father in heaven blesses them with echoes of “This is My beloved son.”
Listen to Him. Through confession, our hearts are convicted as we speak our sins and admit our guilt to our pastor. But then another miracle occurs. Jesus Christ speaks through the pastor to remove your guilt and release you from that sin. He stands in Christ’s stead, and again Jesus’ words through Isaiah echo: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Listen to Him. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus declares the most clear and concise words of Gospel: “This is My Body…given for you.” “This is My Blood…shed for you.” Too amazing to understand completely, we can simply marvel at His Word, and humbly say, “Thank you,” and “Amen.” Our glorious God has become Man for us. The Eternal Son, begotten of the Father has received flesh through His Mother and been born of the same Blessed Virgin. Now, He becomes our perfect heavenly Bread and Priest! As He enters our bodies through our mouths, His sacred words enter our ears, and we Listen to Him!
Listen to Him. As we are already over a week into the Year of Our Lord 2008, may we encourage one another in keeping a new year’s resolution increasingly to be in His Word. God grant that you may always Listen to Him!