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Obedience. Little kids are told to obey their parents. Students are told to obey their teachers. In a dangerous situation we might be asked to obey certain directions for our safety. When the word is used, it can be used in connection to following the direction of someone who is more powerful than we are.

But at the root meaning of the word there is a sense of a subtle difference than simply compliance. The word obedience ultimately comes from two Latin words, ob – (to or for) and audire (to listen).

It is easy to see this connection. We cannot obey someone if we do not listen to them. And in our faith lives, the question is really to whom do we listen. There are so many different voices and opinions to consider that we can become overwhelmed or confused. And it gets even harder if we must listen to what we do not wish to hear.

But if we are to grow in the spiritual life, we must listen to God. And when we hear what God has to say, we must obey God. There simply is no progress in the spiritual life if we do not listen to God and obey God. It is not possible.

The apostles in today’s first reading face that choice. They can choose safety and obey the Sadducees, or they can obey God and be imprisoned, and even killed. Their choice is clear. “We must obey God rather than men.” The beginning of knowing what it is we need to do is to listen to God. That is at the heart of this series, Spend 5 with Jesus. Listening. Prayer can often be just talking to God. But to grow in the spiritual life you must obey God. And obeying begins when you listen to God.

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