In one of the episodes of the PEANUTS cartoon we see the classical music loving Schroeder with a record of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. “Whataya going to do with it?” asks Lucy. “Listen to it” responds Schroeder. “You mean dance to it or sing along with it or tap your feet to it?” asks Lucy. “No, just listen to it,” says Schroeder. “Dumbest thing I ever heard!”, yells Lucy.
We are often distracted from listening, really listening, to people. We get caught up with too many other things to do. Or we don’t really hear what someone is saying because we filter everything through our prejudices or preconceptions. Or we interpret what they say in light of our own desires. But when at Jesus’ baptism the voice of the Father instructs us “This is my Son, listen to Him”. He means for us to truly attend to what Jesus instructs us. This means two things. First to really desire to understand what Jesus is teaching. We want to know what Jesus means, not what we want him to mean or what we wish he would say. Second, that once we understand his message, we will act on it. For example, when he says “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful”, we actually have to forgive people who hurt us, not just think about it or believe in our hearts that forgiveness is nice. Listening is important. We cannot live in love with others if we do not really hear them, and we cannot be disciples of the Lord if we do not hear him and act on His word.