A older friend, struggling with his hearing and beginning to feel very isolated, told me he would have preferred to lose the use of his eyes than his ears. Embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves, he found himself not participating in conversations and shying away from communal gatherings. Though he has hearing aids, he still often feels alone in a group and ignored by people with whom he often had enjoyable conversations.
Whether one is struggling with deafness, weakness in the legs or arms is not the point of today's Gospel. The isolation and loneliness that accompanies the loss of any our faculties is painful, unnerving and confusing, especially in a society that often looked at physical infirmities as punishment for sin, and it is this to which Jesus addresses himself. The Lord wants us to feel and be an integral part of his body, the church. Anything that inhibits or limits this participation is his concern, and should be ours.
Sometimes, although we hear perfectly well, we fail to respond to others who are struggling. Too busy, too self absorbed or too compulsed by the need to succeed, we are deaf to the needy. As a new school year begins for our children and grandchildren, let us open our ears to anyone, especially members of our family, who ae struggling.
Today, listen to someone you normally avoid.
What have you been privileged to hear that opened your heart to the Gospel?