23rd Sunday Ordinary Time – Falling on Deaf Ears…
Again, once we look below the surface story, the ‘historical’ picture of Jesus with a person who couldn’t hear or speak correctly, we find the scriptural web of relations that uncover the biblical meaning of “deaf.” We can see ourselves in this. We may discover how we are deaf ourselves.
Israel is deaf, stiff-necked, rebellious.
The newly freed slaves are no longer deaf. They praise God in song!
Wisdom of Solomon 10:18–21 She brought them over the Red Sea, and led them through deep waters; but she drowned their enemies, and cast them up from the depth of the sea. Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly; they sang hymns, O Lord, to your holy name, and praised with one accord your defending hand; for wisdom opened the mouths of those who were mute [deaf], and made the tongues of infants speak clearly.
Idols are deaf. They can do nothing since they have no life within them.
Habakkuk 2:18–20 What use is an idol once its maker has shaped it— a cast image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in what has been made, though the product is only an idol that cannot speak! Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!” to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!” Can it teach? See, it is gold and silver plated, and there is no breath in it at all.
Isaiah 44:10–12 Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans [deaf] too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.
Those in exile are deaf to the divine call to trust again and return home.
Isaiah 35:4–7 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer…
Help us hear your words of salvation, Lord.