Am I Brave Enough to Be It?

January 31, 2021   Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 71)

Reading I   Dt 18:15-20
Moses spoke to all the people, saying:
“A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen.
This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb
on the day of the assembly, when you said,
‘Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,
nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’
And the LORD said to me, ‘This was well said.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,
and will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.
Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,
I myself will make him answer for it.
But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name
an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,
or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.’”

Responsorial Psalm   Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading II   1 Cor 7:32-35
Brothers and sisters:
I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Alleluia   Mt 4:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light;
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death,
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 1:21-28
Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

By Sadie Curtin 

Finding God in all things, even the unexpected, is one of those spiritual practices that I have no problem teaching in my classroom, but one that I am not always great at embracing in my own spiritual life. 

I have noticed, over the past several months, that God is most definitely speaking to me in the unanticipated interactions, conversations, and interior emotions I experience. It is this type of communication from God that I have to imagine has always been happening, but that I haven’t always noticed. 

As I look to the Psalm today, I am hearing the poetic guidance with this reality in mind: “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”  I must ask myself – if I am just now coming to notice God’s voice in the unexpected, how many times has my heart been hardened due to lack of attention?!

How many times has my heart been hardened because I was listening for God’s voice where I expected to hear it, rather than where God was actually speaking?! 

As I process this personal discovery, I want to make a conscious effort to do better. 

For me, spirituality has grown with time, age, wisdom, and life experience, and this is a moment for growth.  I so desire to hear God’s voice with an open, accepting heart – not one that is hardened or unavailable or too busy. 

I pray for a heart that accepts transformation and mission from God; a God whose voice is shouting to me through the unexpected. 

The unexpected, recently, has been revealed through nonverbal communication with my 7 pound wiener dog, through hard conversations with ones I love, and via virtual interactions with students quarantined at home desperate for connection.  I recognize the unexpected communication from God when I feel consolation, comfort, gratitude, and love in these mundane moments.   I pray I continue to see them more and more.  

I have also found that as I live through this moment in the United States, the words of the Psalm have been revealed in a new way.  It hit me when I listened to Amanda Gorman proclaim her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the Presidential Inauguration that God is revealed through the voice of others if I listen closely.

Her prophetic poem was an unexpected illumination of the profound message of the Psalm revealed through a young woman I had never heard of prior. Her bold message in the conclusion of the poem proclaims: “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

This is an unexpected, yet wildly necessary, reminder to be brave enough to keep my heart open, to be brave enough to seek the light of God in any way that I can, and to be brave enough to share it. 

God’s voice is loud and bold and hopeful and just, and I am realizing I just can't get enough of God’s message.  I pray that in order to soak up as much as I can, that I will continue to be alert to God’s presence in all things, especially where I least expect it.


Sadie Curtin is a high school theology teacher who finds herself most invigorated by LGBTQIA+ equity, racism, and the profound beauty of world religions. She finds joy in taking long walks with friends, reading a thought-provoking memoir, and trying to find the best pizza in Cleveland. She loves to dive deep into issues of social justice and would love to engage in conversation with you! Find more about her here

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