Hearing changes everything
A Reflection for Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
“And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” (Mk 7:35)
Jesus gives hearing to a deaf man. This is extraordinary. What if you could not hear, had never been able to hear, and then all of a sudden you could? It would feel unbelievable! Sounds would enter into your ears, travel to your brain, be understood by your mind and give a deeper meaning and richness to the world.
At the same time, being able to participate in the glory of hearing the world, you would also participate in the pain of hearing the world. Hearing loud cries of anguish and hurt; listening to harsh noises when all you want is peace; hearing yourself or others being yelled at, shamed, put down—hearing things no one wants to hear.
The man was also freed from a speech impediment. He would also have to hear the less-than-wonderful things he said.
The deaf man has been given a new, richer entry into life, and also a difficult entry into that same life. One weight is taken off and a new one is put on. With freedom comes a new and grave responsibility: to dwell in the world as it really is. He may wonder at times how can he bear it, life with the tarp thrown off. Life with all the good and all the bad mingled and sodden and gleaming and sad.
And yet he will be able to bear it, because in one moment of his life, Jesus the Christ touched him. It is that moment that he will live out for the rest of his life. He is not merely different because he can now hear and speak, but because he drew close to the living God, closer than he ever could have imagined. If he remembers that moment, if he relives it in his mind and soul, it can get him through anything.