When I was in my elementary years, Saturdays were times I looked forward to as me and my siblings would play for hours with the children in the neighborhood. My parents’ home is endowed with a big space and so it was also a convenient place to play, even with the orchard and garden that my grandmother created for the love of gardening. When we were done in the morning; tired, messy, and cluttered, she would ask us to clean ourselves and then have siesta in the afternoon. During siesta, as we lay in bed pretending to sleep, the sound of the children playing in the neighbors houses would be heard. We wished we could go out, but Lola Andang was always firm that we have to forego playing in order to rest. And when we plead, she’d always remind us to listen and obey our elders for guidance. She would end up telling us stories about role models of obedience and also ‘bad’ examples of hardheaded stubbornness. Children as we were then, we’d always get frightened at the thought of failing in our own lives. Her wisdom and counsel are priceless as we always remember those moments even up to the present time.
In the Gospel, Jesus cured a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, after the Lord said, ‘Ephphatha’, that is ‘Be opened’. Jesus performed all sorts of miracles like making the deaf hear and the dumb speak, aside from giving sight to the blind.
In life people encounter lots of trials and challenges: the difficulties that refugees encounter while fleeing from their native Syria, the hunger and famine that still affect countries in Africa, even Filipino families living in abject poverty to the fears of many kinds, with disabilities like deafness, loneliness and others. Many of us have problems listening and understanding the events of our lives. We just go on and on, and we are clueless why certain events happen. What makes it additionally problematic is the increased inability to speak about these. We also become deaf to others pleas for help. While the prevailing notion is that this is only mankind’s concern, God is with us in this suffering too, especially when we are most in need. Sometimes we just want to sleep over the problem hoping that it’s gone when we wake up the next morning. Or, we distract ourselves with other interests hoping our concerns leave us. Yet, however we try, it doesn’t happen that way.
When confronted with a burden as heavy, I always remind myself though that there is something good that will come out of it. Similarly, we have to calm ourselves down, reflect and allow ourselves to listen to God’s message. With the eyes of faith, we have to think of trials as a ‘joyful privilege’, for the atonement of our sins and gaining back God’s favor. We only have to look at the lives of the great saints of the Church and how they were joyful despite the problems they were facing. Surely they must have known something that gives them the courage to give up all for Christ!
As we continue to reflect on God’s Word, let us pray that Jesus give us the courage to speak for those whose tongues are tied. That we may speak for the voiceless: to speak the truth so that others may be set free.