What are we listening for?

September 9, 2018

I hope you had a good summer, enjoying time with your family and a break from your labor.  We had many visitors from other states and countries attend Sunday Mass at our parish. It was wonderful to welcome them and chat after Mass. 

As we resume our regular schedules, this Sunday’s Gospel gives us an important lesson that we can focus on and practice in this coming year. 

A Native Cherokee American was visiting a friend who lived in New York City. As they were walking in downtown New York, the Native American suddenly stopped and said, "I hear a cricket." His friend replied, "Oh, you're crazy." "No, I hear a cricket. I do! I'm sure of it," he said. The New Yorker said, "It's noon. People are everywhere headed to lunch, cars are honking, taxis squealing, there's all the noise from the city. Surely you can't hear a cricket above all that."  The Native America said, "I'm sure I hear a cricket." So, he listened attentively and then walked about 10 feet where there was a shrub in a large cement planter. He dug beneath the leaves and found a cricket. His friend was astounded. 

The Cherokee said, "My ears are no different from yours. It simply depends on what you are listening for. Here, let me show you." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change, a few quarters, some dimes, nickels, and pennies. As he dropped it on the concrete, every head within half a block turned. "You see what I mean? It all depends on what you are listening for."

What are we listening for?  

With most of Jesus’ healings he simply issues a command and the healing happens.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes through a more complicated ritual to heal the completely deaf man.  The hearing must be restored first before any communication can begin. 

There are so many noises in our daily life.  It’s as if God’s voice is the sound of that cricket during a busy and noisy lunchtime in downtown New York. Often, we are so occupied by the noisiness that demands our immediate attention that we don’t open our ears to listen for anything else.  

So, what are we listening for? Read the daily scripture readings. It takes only minutes to do so. Oftentimes a thought, an idea, or a phrase from scriptures enters our minds.  This is God is communicating to us, like the small whisper of that little cricket amidst the cacophony of our noisy lives.   

Kathryn Richards