Being deaf and having a speech impediment often go together, as we see in Sunday’s Gospel. I’ve been deaf since I was 7 years old (measles), and hearing aids do help a lot, but it still remains a handicap. I can talk normally, since by age 7 I had my basic speech patterns down. But what I very often can’t do is hear myself speaking. I’ve lost count of embarrassing moments I’ve had when I leaned over to whisper something to another person, only to discover that I didn’t know how loud I was “whispering.” On the other hand, many times people ask me to speak up because they can’t hear me (such as in a noisy restaurant). I’m surprised, because I think I’m already yelling!!
One of the fun things about being deaf is called “selective deafness.” I can either hear and respond, or pretend I didn’t hear and thus not have to respond. It’s up to the speaker to figure out whether I didn’t hear, or am just ignoring him or her! There is one thing, however, that is 100% guaranteed to improve my hearing: Praise!
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll have to admit that when it comes to our personal spiritual life, there’s a lot of selective deafness. Jesus describes this as those who have ears but cannot hear, have mouths but cannot speak.
Each time we fail to hear the voice of God speaking to us through our consciences, each time we fail to listen to or read a reflection on the Word of God, each time we fail to listen to the pleas of the poor, the oppressed and the neglected, then we are spiritually deaf and need God’s healing. Each time we fail to pray, to tell the truth, to speak friendly or encouraging words, then we are spiritually dumb and need God’s healing. We tune out Pope Francis because he makes us uncomfortable, but roundly applaud politicians who tell us what we want to hear. We parrot so-and-so’s talking points instead of taking the time to be thoughtful and speak our own truth. We won’t speak up for someone who’s being abused or harmed, because “It’s none of my business,” and “besides, I might get shot.”
Lord Jesus, please grant me the desire to come to you for healing of my deafness and muteness.
Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!