“Jesus was standing one day by the lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God.” (Lk 5:1)

Q. How eagerly do we listen to the Word of God?

The Gospel reading of the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time presents us with this compelling picture, for we see here the eagerness of the crowd who are ‘pressing round’ Jesus to listen to the Word of God. They are eager to draw near to the Word made flesh, eager to hear his words that are spirit and life.

For the past few months many RCIA groups have gathered and welcomed those that have come seeking the Word of God. Like those first seekers we read about in the Gospel they have been ‘pressing round’ Jesus listening to the Word of God . Next week this attentive listening to the Word continues and takes another important step as we celebrate the start of the season of Lent and gather in our various Dioceses to celebrate the Rite of Election. Two of the important questions concerning those seeking the sacraments that are addressed to the godparents will be:

“Have they faithfully listened to God’s word proclaimed by the Church?”
“Have they responded to that word and begun to walk in God’s presence?”

Here again in the liturgy we see the Church is encouraging this eagerness and attentiveness to the Word.

In next week’s liturgy St Paul reminds us all that “the word …is very near to you.” (Romans 10:8). This Lent and this coming Easter may all of us pray for each other and especially for those seeking the sacraments, that we may all have the grace to listen eagerly to the Word, to ‘press in’ with renewed eagerness to hear it, and in this year of faith to respond to it ever more deeply walking the way of faith in God’s presence.