Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear

I have always been fascinated with books and the stories held within them. When I am reading I become immersed in the tale and the world around me disappears. All too often my mother, who was a writer and a great lover of books herself, would suddenly jar me away from my fantasy saying “I know you can hear me, but you aren’t listening.”

Jesus could have very well said those exact words to the Jews who heard him but refused to listen to what he had to say. When Jesus spoke, they often failed to listen. Instead, they spoke among themselves, questioning who he was and who he thought he was. To them he was the son of a simple carpenter and his wife, and he should know his place. It was not acceptable for him to be anything more than that of his father.

We all have a tendency to hear without listening. It is human nature to judge others based on our own experience and biases and the immediacy of the moment. We hear, we decide, we judge, case closed. To truly listen, to try to understand, takes a certain degree of effort on our part and within our busy lives there is simply no time.

How many of us have passed someone on the street, threadbare and unkempt, and looked the other way or crossed the street to avoid being touched by someone less fortunate.  St. Paul tells us that “The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him” [1 Cor 2:9]. If we are honest with ourselves we do not see or hear Jesus in the stranger. To someone we know well we might say “she is an angel of God” or “he is such a kind, generous soul” but we never would speak of the stranger or the poor or the hungry in such a way. Rather, our thoughts turn to judgment, telling ourselves that it is their fault that they are who or what they are.

We have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear. We close our eyes and stopper our ears but seldom do we shut our mouths. We surround ourselves with noise, often of our own making, to keep us from listening, from seeing, from feeling, from understanding. And as long as we continue to do so we will never hear the voice of God, never feel His presence, never see Jesus in the stranger.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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