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‘Ha?!’

Someone said that we, senior citizens, belong to the “Ha?!” generation. Why? Because whenever somebody says something to us, most likely, our immediate response is, “Ha?!” And that’s because we are hard of hearing.

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The story is told about a man who was hard of hearing. One day, he was given a new hearing aid, and he was happy with his newfound gadget. Just then, someone asked him: “How much did you pay for your hearing aid?”

“Yesterday!” was his response.

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In today’s Gospel (Mk. 7, 31-37), Jesus healed a deaf man who had a speech impediment. His healing was immediate and total. “And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” The crowd was astonished with the miracle. Let us ask the Lord today to heal us in our hearing and speaking, for we hear but not listen, we speak but our words are empty and have no meaning.

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The beneficiary of the healing was a foreigner, a Gentile, whose kind was looked down upon by the Jews who thought that salvation was exclusive to them. Jesus’ healing was unconditional. What a consolation to know that our God is the God of all, and that God’s love is not limited by anything or anyone. We should not, we cannot control God. God is in control of everything and of everyone.

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“Ephphata!” (Be opened) There is nothing that God cannot open. There is no knot that God cannot untie. There is no traffic that God cannot unsnarl! Is there anything that has imprisoned you or has locked you in any way? Open your heart and pray. Nothing is impossible with God. He will find a way. He will make a way!

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I have a friend who is a locksmith. He can open any lock, any vault. He even fixed our tabernacle when the key got stuck. I was struck by what he said: “The hardest to open is the heart.” Indeed, for the heart must be opened from within. It involves readiness and willingness. We pray today to the Lord to remove the hardness of our hearts.

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My locksmith friend also makes key duplicates. He can make any duplicate. You name it. He hit the nail on the head when he said: “We can duplicate anything except the heart.” Words of wisdom! Nobody loves like you do. Nobody cries like you do. No one has the heart that is in you. A beautiful reminder for all of us—each one is unique and special. Our fingerprints, our footprints and our “heartprints” are unique and special. May we remember, too, that to God, each one of us is special.

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If only we really listen to God! The problem with many of us is that we do not really listen hard enough, or we do not listen to God at all. We listen to ourselves, we listen to what others are saying, but leave no room for God’s say—in our thoughts, words and deeds. Many of us need to be “hit” before we truly listen to God. This doesn’t have to be so. May we be open to God, speaking to us, in prayer, and in the most ordinary moments of our lives. God is constantly speaking. Are we listening?

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Take note that healing leads to mission. Those who have been healed or blessed must in turn go and proclaim the Good News of the Lord and share His blessings. In other words, healing and blessings are not for keeps. They must not stay in our “inbox” or in our “archives,” but must be sent. Payback time! What are you going to do the rest of your life?

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Happy birthday, Mama Mary! Mama Mary was someone who really listened to God, and obeyed His will. She teaches all of us that to be a disciple, we must learn to listen to God, obey His will and carry out His mission for us. Remember the story about a room in heaven that is full of ears and tongues? When asked why, St. Peter was surprised to have said: “Those ears belonged to people who just heard the word of God, and those tongues belonged to those who spoke the word of God, but did not live it!”

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Let us elect leaders who are truthful in what they say, and who take time to listen. Foremost, let us choose leaders who pray, or who have a prayer life, who listen to Someone greater than themselves. Second, let us choose leaders who listen, consult and involve our people, especially the “little ones” and the poor. Let us not choose leaders who listen only to their greed and ambition.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to truly listen to You, and obey You. Amen.

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TAGS: hearing, Jesus, listening, Mama Mary, Senior citizens
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