23rd Sunday Homily in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: The word of God
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Sunday September 5 2021
(Mark 7:31-37) Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus heals a deaf man who had a speech impediment. He made the healing private by taking off from the crowd. Jesus attended to both sickness and as soon as the man was able to hear, he was able to spoke plainly. He was told not to tell anyone but as what usually happens, the news is broken to everyone! Those who witnessed the healing spoke well of Jesus. His healings left them in awe.
Hearing is connected with speaking. Failing to hear is followed by difficulty in speaking. What you cannot hear, you cannot speak of. Imagine watching a movie and suddenly there was no audio? It is difficult to understand the movie unless they make the actions so graphic like the “silent movies” of Charlie Chaplin. The sound brings a lot to the scenes. A horror movie, for example, is very different when the sound is on. Off, and it is like any ordinary scene. Jesus knew the suffering of the deaf mute. Healing him allows him to enter the world. But just like most of Jesus’ healing miracles, the healing of the deaf mute is symbolic of our relationship with God. When we fail to hear God, we cannot proclaim it.
The world today experiences a certain level of spiritual deafness to the the Word of God. We are deafened by advance technologies. Easily accessible and operable, we are dominated by the sounds of televisions, cell phones, radios, and computers which make available to us the music, speeches, interviews of politicians, movie stars, vloggers, and advocates. They are all around us 24/7. Just turn on any gadget and all kinds of sounds are available.
The Word of God, the bible is less read and understood. Quotes from the Sacred Scriptures may be found on social media, but how many of those understood and had lived by those words? It seems that they were posted for others to but not to the one who posted it. Without making any judgments, at times I am surprised that my reflections on facebook get an immediate like and share just seconds after I posted them! It makes me wonder whether it was even read, much more understood and reflected on. There was a time when writers would refer to bible stories and passages assuming that their readers are aware of them or familiar with them. Now, it is not wise to make that assumption. There was a generation who knew their basic catechism and the bible. You need not retell them again the Creation story, the parables, Jesus’ miracles, the beatitudes, or even the ten commandments.
Finally, we are deaf to the true and authentic Word of God. This is more difficult to see and admit. It is like having an ear for who are in or out of tune in music! The bible is quoted but applied wrongly and with vested interest. Many people had been fooled by preachers who are full of vested interests. I was once approach by a man who was once rich but lost his riches because the preacher of a sect was able to convince them to donate their properties because it was what the Lord Jesus wanted! The issue of separation of Church and state is a recurring and classic example using the Jesus’ statement, “Give to Caesar what is to Caesar. Give to God what is God’s.” What sounds biblical may not always be biblical. When we fail to distinguish it, we are deaf to God’s Word.
How do we address this? Take time to be alone with God! Spend time with God in silence. Let God speak and we listen. Jesus took off the deaf mute from the crowd and healed him. God, more than us, had a lot to say to us. Listening to Him allows us to receive, understood, reflect, and be moved by His words. We should not underestimate listening. Priests, nuns, and laymen who are good in Scriptures achieved it not merely by reading them. They would tell you that they listened a lot. Most of the best and relevant reflections of the saints and spiritual people were borne out of listening more than their intelligence and readings! A bishop once said, “If you want to speak persuasively, listen attentively!”