Deafness. Try to imagine what it is like to not be able to hear. Think of all the things you take for granted that you would miss, the sound of birds, the patter of rain on the roof, music. Things most of us never give a second thought would not be a routine part of life. I am not deaf, but my parents are. I have been around the deaf all my life. Imagine the sense of exclusion you would feel. Left out of conversations, struggling to understand what people around you are talking about. I remember my father referring to lip-reading as lip guessing, and he did well in communicating with the hearing. Making yourself understood can be frustrating. Jesus opened the ears of the deaf man, making it possible for him to understand what was happening around him. Jesus also gave him a voice, the ability to speak about what was happening around him. My brothers and sisters I propose to you that all of us are quite deaf, that all of us are quite mute. We are spiritually deaf, and, without the help of God, we are unable to hear God’s word. Since we can’t hear it, how can we speak of it? Jesus comes and opens our ears so we may hear and understand the word of God. Jesus makes it possible for us to hear the words of love, compassion and caring that God wants us to communicate to the world. Even more, once we hear the word of God, we hear another sound, the sound of the suffering around us. We hear the cry of the poor, the call of the homeless, the crying of the child in need. Indeed, once we hear, truly hear the Word, we cannot close out these other sounds. We are compelled by our faith to speak, to use the voice we have been given to speak out about the plight of those in need. We hear, and we must speak, we must act, we must do what we can to help quiet those cries Our faith demands nothing less.
The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 6, 2009