A Light Unto My Path
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak. So said the bystanders after they saw Jesus’ healing of the deaf man with the speech impediment. We are meant to share their amazement in the measure that Jesus continues to heal us, deaf to the Word of God, and hence unable to speak it clearly.
Sadly, secularism continues to assert itself in our once strongly religious culture. Around twenty-six per cent of our countrymen say that they practice no religion, and among those thirty years of age and younger, that number climbs to forty per cent. The secular person, by definition, is one who hears only the voices that echo around the public square, in the popular and the high culture, and perhaps especially in social media. These are voices that, almost exclusively, trumpet the importance of wealth, of power, of pleasure, of fame, of worldly success. So powerful and insistent are these voices that they drown out, easily enough, the tiny whispering voice of God.
How crucially relevant for our time that Saint John referred to Jesus as the Incarnation of the Word of God. In his voice, we are able to hear the voice of God; through his ministrations, our deafness to God is overcome. Now those who are deaf indeed find it difficult to speak clearly, and this principle holds in the spiritual order as well. Precisely because the secularised person cannot hear God’s word, he or she cannot convey it persuasively and beautifully to the wider culture. Once again, atunement to the voice of Jesus is the key to becoming an articulate evangeliser. Thus, the Lord continues, even now, to do all things well: he cures our deafness to the divine word and causes us to speak it with confidence.