Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Silence to Hear (23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Our Lady of Solitude: Model of Silence

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

In the very talkative world that we live in, much of the ideas that are expressed are shallow and meaningless. Much of what is communicated is unclear, almost gibberish. That is why the man who was brought to Jesus for healing today may best describe most of us today. He had a speech impediment. His words were unclear simply because he was deaf. I say that this man describes us because our incapability to communicate clearly to others the truth is due to our failure to listen well. In teaching, I notice that many of our students do not learn because they do not listen well. They talk with each other as the teacher teaches.  When asked about their ideas on religion, they give out shallow and unclear ones. This only shows that they do not think before they talk.

In order to heal the man, Jesus took him off away from the crowd. Before he opens the ears of the deaf, he separates the man from the crowd. Some sort of “distance” is needed in order to open one’s self to God’s word. For us to be able to listen well to God’s word, we need to distance ourselves from the noises around us. We need to set apart time to listen, to search, to study the truths of the faith. We need to give God our full attention to hear what he has to say.

In the Psalms, we hear the invitation: “Come children and hear me and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” (Ps. 34:11) In the Book of Job, it is written: “Be silent and I will teach you wisdom” (Job 33:33). Silence is necessary to give God our full attention. Our ears will not hear the Lord speak unless we keep silent. When we listen intently and understand God’s word, our mouths become capable of speaking clearly and profoundly. We always say: “Silent waters run deep.” Profundity is marked by silence. Profundity is the sign of real wisdom.

“Today, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.” (Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, 7.) We will regain the enthusiasm for communicating the faith when we have rediscovered the joy of believing. This rediscovery of faith can only happen when we listen intently to the Word of God. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). We cannot preach the Gospel unless we hear it first.

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you!

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