This Sunday’s responsorial psalm says, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Ps 95).” It seems pretty inconceivable to harden our hearts to the actual voice of God, doesn’t it? I mean, if I knew it was actually God talking, I would listen pretty carefully. Doesn’t everyone wish God’s voice would just come through some cosmic loudspeaker helping us know what to do on any given day in any given circumstance? So what is the psalmist saying when he exhorts us not to “harden our hearts” to the voice of God?

Have you ever known the right thing to do and just not done it? Or have you ever known that “being good” was going to cost you something in your friendships or in your social status? Or have you ever just changed the channel rather than hearing all the tragic news about the Middle East, the poverty of the African people, the victims of justice or violence, or the continued suffering of those most helpless? Have you ever walked past a homeless person on the street, afraid to look him in the eye when he asks you directly for help? Or have you ever heard that sudden, unbeckoned voice in the back of your head telling you to get in touch with an old friend or a long-lost classmate—and then shrugged it off as a weird memory?

I suppose that’s not fair, asking if “you’ve” ever had those experiences…because the real question each of us needs to ask ourselves is, “When I’ve had those experiences, how did I not recognize in them the voice of God?” Maybe this is the psalmist’s point. Maybe this is precisely his point. Help me, Lord, to hear and recognize your voice today—in the Scriptures; in the words of my family, friends, and coworkers; in every opportunity to love that you present to me—and keep my heart soft enough to answer, “Ah, Lord—there you are.”

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