The theme of listening runs throughout today’s readings: listening to the Divine Voice; to the voice of the prophet Ezekiel; to our community members; to the Church.

In the First Reading, God likens the prophet’s role to that of a sentry, who has the important job of warning people of approaching danger. Ezekiel must point out to the community both their sins and the consequences of them.

In the Gospel, Jesus advises us of our duty to do what we can when an individual’s behaviour is a threat to the community. Our community does not live separately from God: the Lord is active and present in the decisions and desires of his people and our prayer and action should reflect this.

The Psalm picks up the theme of listening and bids the people to heed the message of God and to be receptive to his love and gifts.

Paul emphasises to the Romans that the precious freedom bought for us by Christ also brings with it a responsibility and a debt: to love and care for each other and to live out the consequences of our faith. These words go to the heart of the Gospel message. Jesus has shown us how to love our neighbour by everything he said and did. He also shows us how to be fully alive as a human being. (Second Reading)

Amidst the distractions and bustle of daily life, we pray to be alert for the quiet voice of the Divine, and to be generous in responding to it. We beg for the awareness of our responsibilities as a church community, especially to those most at risk across the world at this time.