HEARING AND SPEAKING
If you wish to spark off an animated discussion ask people which faculty would they let go if they had to make such a choice: hearing or sight. Most would choose hearing as loss of sight registers as such a loss that many would do everything possible to keep. My own mother who lost her right eye through an accident playing with other children when she was about four or five lived in fear of blindness and would have most willingly have forsaken her hearing rather than eyesight. Yet loss of hearing isolates people from the ordinary flow of conversations, news sharing and entertainment in a way that loss of sight never does. Those with hearing loss enter a silent world where they struggle to understand what others are saying and can easily misunderstand what is happening. Gone from them is the joy of music and entertainment on many levels. Gone also are the sounds that alert us that danger is close.
Add to hearing loss some speech impediment and you find others treating you as if you are suffering from some form of intellectual disability. How often have you seen people communicating with someone for whom English is not a familiar language raise their voice when speaking and use “me Tarzan, you Jane” types of expression as if increased volume and poor grammar will improve intelligibility. But back to speech impediments. Something like stammering frustrates the one trying to communicate and those trying to grasp what is being said. The person afflicted with such disabilities may suffer no intellectual disability but still is mightily handicapped.
This is the man who is healed by Jesus in the extract from the gospel we hear at mass this weekend. This healing comes alive at the baptism of every infant. After the little one has risen to new life from the baptismal water (immersed or had it poured over them) four ceremonies are performed that highlight the effects of baptism. The last of these ceremonies sees the minister place his fingers on the ears of the children and touch their mouths praying that they will listen to God’s word and go out speaking as disciples. Jesus took the man away from the onlookers and touched his ears with his fingers and placed his finger moistened by his own spittle on the man’s tongue. Miraculously the afflicted man could hear and speak clearly. Obviously he did not observe the Lord’s command not to publicise what had happened otherwise we would know nothing about it. As it is we not only hear what the Lord says but take it to heart and share it with others using our own words that accepting Christ will bring us to wholeness in a way nothing else can.
May we listen carefully and always use words to build others up and bring healing into their lives.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Sep 8, 2015||23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 06.09.2015||Listen||Download|