I am currently reading a biography of Thomas A. Edison by Edmund Morris (who also wrote the Theodore Roosevelt trilogy). Although Edison was profoundly hearing-impaired, he nonetheless had an amazing ability to sense/detect sound distortions in recording that astonished sound and electrical engineers of his day. It was as though he was “plugged into” a new level of hearing and discernment – at least in that one area of his life.
In today’s gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man with a speech impediment.Jesus “put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” (Mark 7:33-37). It struck me that in that moment Jesus “plugged” the man into the divine current and energy of miracles and healing.
In our baptismal ceremonies, as the priest makes the Sign of the Cross on the child’s lips and ears, he prays: “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” There is a similar rite in the RCIA programs leading up to the Easter Vigil. Like the man in the gospel, we are “plugging” these folks into the grace of God that they may be able and blessed to hear the Word of God. Maybe the next time you bless yourself from the Holy Water font, may you remember to receive and proclaim the Word of God in your lives.
In the lives we live among the ongoing Bable of the world around us. A world where there are so many raucous voices, the insistent drumbeat of advertising and political ads, the pseudo spiritualities and self-proclaimed help and healing,and so much more. All of it makes us deaf to God’s word, saps our energy, and renders us mute. We need to have a place of silence and communion in our lives.
Sacred Heart here in Tampa (like so many sanctuaries) is a place away from the crowd where Jesus can draw us into his space, plug us into His divine currents. There we can immerse ourselves in quiet, in the rhythm of the liturgy, the proclamation of Scripture, take in the beauty of sacred art and architecture, and be in the presence of Jesus in the tabernacles.
There we can hear.
Then we are ready to speak the Word into the world, plugging others into the divine current.