Our gospel today was about the cure of a deaf man. It certainly is difficult to communicate with someone who can’t hear. What if God was deaf and didn’t hear our prayers. That would be terrible, right? Well, the Lord does hear. And what does he hear? For one thing, as Psalm 34 tells us, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”
Once the Lord hears the cry of the poor, what does he do? He looks around for people whom he has gifted. He opens up our ears to hear the cry of the poor. And then he sends us forth to take care of the problem.
For instance, he sends people from our parish to work with the organization, Friends in Deed,to help the homeless in our community. He inspires people to donate to Together inMission, helping poor schools. He guides our children to make lunches for Union Station Services. And on and on.
When the Lord hears the cry of the poor, he opens our ears to hear and sends us forth.
But it is not just the homeless and the hungry that need help. There are other kinds of poor people. The writer Harry Kemp stated, “The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream.” Think about that for a moment. He is poor who is without a dream.
He is poor who is aimlessand sees no meaning to his life.
He is poor who is confusedand without wisdom.
He is poor who is depressedand without hope.
He is poor who is fearfuland without courage.
He is poor who is lonelyand without friends.
He is poor whoservesand is not appreciated.
Yes, he is poor who is without a dream.
Like the deaf man in today’s gospel, Jesus opens up our ears to hear the cries of
the aimless, the confused, the depressed,
the fearful, the lonely, the unappreciated,
and those without a dream?
And when we hear their cries, what are we to do? For one, we are to bring them here to encounter Jesus at Mass.
Here the aimless become aware that their life has meaning. They along with us have a mission. As we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”, we are all sent forth with Jesus to work for that kingdom of peace, justice and love. This is our purpose.
To the confusedand those without wisdom St. Paul says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction” (Romans 15:4). The Liturgy of the Wordis for the confused to gain wisdom.
To the depressed… Again St. Paul says, “by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The death and resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for the triumph on life over death, light over darkness, for the triumph of joy over sadness.
To the fearful… In the Acts of the Apostleswe read,
“When the people saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived they were uneducated and common men, they wondered, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). We come here to be with Jesus, to receive his courage and be bold.
To the lonely, those without friends, Jesus says, “I am the good Shepherd. I know mine and mine know me” (John10:14). Here the Christian community welcomes the lonely as friends, as fellow sheep gathered around Jesus, the good shepherd. We belong here together.
To the unappreciated Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and areburdened and I will refresh you” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus appreciates all we say do in service to his people, for in serving them we serve him.
In human communication the difficult part is not talking but listening, listening with understanding. In a larger context it is difficult to listen with understanding to the cries of poor, with includes those people without food, without shelter, without a dream.
With the man in today’s gospel, we ask. “Lord, help us to hear.” Through the Mass, Jesus says, “Ephrata!” “Be opened.” “Hear the cries of my people -- and love them.”