11th Sunday after Pentecost
Today’s Gospel portrays a man who was both deaf and dumb. He could not hear and he could not speak. This affliction that some people are born with in their bodies, sadly affects legions in their souls. It affected us at various stages of our lives. There was a time when we were deaf to the word of God; we did not want to hear it, and when it reached our ears, it was as if we did not hear. Not hearing the Word of God, we could obviously not understand it, still less speak it, and so we were spiritually deaf and spiritually dumb at one and the same time.
Saul of Tarsus was one of those who, even though reading and knowing the Mosaic Law virtually by heart, was nevertheless deaf to God’s revelation. He was so steeped in the Law that He rejected the Lawgiver who appeared in the Person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord, however, had compassion on this soul. He appeared to him on the road to Damascus and, in a few moments, transformed him into the apostle St Paul who would then go on the become the greatest preacher of the Word of God in history. As he tells us himself in today’s epistle, it is by the grace of God that I am what I am, and His grace in me has not been void (1 Cor 5:10). How encouraging those words and his example! With the grace of God, all becomes possible. God wants to work marvels in our soul. He wants for us to hear His word and live by it, and then to go out and share it with others.
In the meditation on the Kingdom of Christ, St Ignatius has us ask for the grace not to be dumb to Christ’s call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will. St Benedict, in the prologue of the Rule, invites us to open the ear of our heart, that is to say, to listen attentively and lovingly to what the Lord is trying to get across to us, and the whole Rule helps us get a good perspective on how to organise life in such a way that we hear holy things often and have no time for vanities. In this way, the seed that is God’s Word can take root in our soul. Like our Blessed Mother, we can then let the Holy Spirit lead us to a life lived with God, for God and in God. Amen.