Do you remember the first time(s) that you met someone who could not hear?
For me, this came when on visits to my grandparents’ home in Natchez, MS. Living next door to my grandparents was a couple who could not hear. This couple had children about my age. It was “fascinating” for me to see this man and woman communicate with their children, and vice-versa, through sign-language. By using signs created with their hands, communication took place. I can remember asking the “kids” to ask their parents a question and to SEE the parents respond with an answer.
This particular couple also spoke only with great difficulty with utterances not easily understood. In those days of insensitivity [lack of political correctness], this couple was considered to be deaf and “dumb”. They could not hear — and in reality, they could not speak with a “human tongue”. BUT– they could “speak” and they did communicate … JUST NOT LIKE THE REST OF US, NOT LIKE THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE.
As we grow older, it is NORMAL to experience loss of hearing. But, most of resist acknowledging that. We blame others for “low talking”. If only others would speak a little louder, “I” would have no problem hearing.
A year ago, I finally admitted I needed some help in hearing — and I got a hearing aid for each ear. STILL, I wear them only when I want to wear them …. only when I think I will be in a situation where I will really need to hear what is being said.
We read and we hear of Jesus healing a deaf man with a speech impediment. [Mark 7:31-37] So as not to embarrass the man, Jesus took him off by himself …. he prayed … he touched the man … he looked to the heavenly Father … then the “man’s ears were opened, [and] his speech impediment was removed.” God has power over this physical world. God is stronger than any limitation facing us.
In the letter of St. James [2:1-5], the disciple says: “LISTEN, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”
LISTEN UP … Listen …. do you hear? Buried in today’s Epistle reading is a nugget of wisdom. Have we heard this before? Are we hearing it for the first time? Are we really hearing it?
I am confident that each and every one of us can beg Jesus to lay his hand on us so that we can hear better, so that we can hear clearer, so that we can hear not only with our ears but with our hearts. ALL OF US ARE STANDING IN THE NEED OF PRAYER … ALL OF US ARE STANDING IN THE NEED OF HEALING …. not just the priest or the deacon … not just the children …. not just the parents … not just my brother or my sister …. but, I AM STANDING IN THE NEED to hear better … and maybe to hear like never before.
God has not left us here to find our own way from day-to-day. God does not live “above us”. As Isaiah says [35:4-7], HERE IS YOUR GOD … he comes to save you … he comes to save me.
He comes to save me from fear and depression. Did you hear that?
He comes with the wisdom to solve every problem and to meet every challenge? Did you hear that?
He comes to save us from ourselves. Did you hear that?
When we are rich in faith, we do not have to depend on our limited minds and lack of knowledge. When we are rich in faith we do not have to depend on someone else to solve our problems — because the answer lies within our human heart.
When we are rich in faith, we appreciate our own sin and our own need for redemption. So, we will not judge another … we will not put those with fancy clothes above those who shop at the thrift store.
When we listen to the Gospel message, we live with different values and a different mindset. When we hear the teachings of Jesus … we can never get “ours” while we watch someone else trying to get his/hers.
When we ask God to help us to hear better …. I am sure he will … if we want to hear better. What have you heard your family say this past week? What have you heard others say about their own needs?
What are you hearing God ask of you? What is God telling you to do differently than you have done in the best? What are you hearing God say about the future? Are we asking God to help us hear? Are we asking God to open our ears … while he loosens our tongues?
Is this the time to speak up — to speak out?
God speak every day. God is speaking to me … to you … to us. Before we act, let’s take some time to listen. This is a week to speak less and listen more. This is a time to hear anew.
Hearing is a great gift. We must be responsible to use this gift well.