Having a Voice
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

There was one wedding I conducted twenty years ago which I always remember with pride and joy. I feel proud to be part of the life of two young people who fell in love while in a school for the hearing and speaking impaired. I was a new parish priest then and I had to improvise along the way as I conducted a pre-nuptial interview, heard confessions, and performed the wedding ceremony – with the help of a sign language interpreter. The church wedding was a joyful ceremony, capped with an interpretation of a song through sign language by a choir made up of their classmates. It was such a unique wedding that we ended up in the front page of a national daily as a human interest story.

The human voice expresses directly what one wishes to convey. There are other forms of communication such as through the written word or through symbolic gestures but the human voice is still the most uniquely personal. One’s voice expresses not only ideas but feelings as well. Our ears are also our gateways to the world. Try interpreting what the speakers are saying while your tv set is programmed to Mute.

This Sunday’s readings describe God’s saving act as a restoration of physical well-being, “Then will the eyes of the blind be open, and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout” (Is. 35:5-6). This saving action of God is seen in the ministry of Jesus who cured a deaf man and restored his speech (Mk. 7:34-35).

Jesus restored the man’s hearing faculty by saying, “Ephphetha” - be opened. This word of the Lord is addressed to us as well. Well-being does not just refer to fully-functioning and well-coordinated physical endowments. The opening of the ears should also lead to the receptivity of the heart. More than that, it should lead us to proclamation. We make our voice heard by sharing the good news of what God has done for us. The joy of hearing the good news is doubled when the good news is shared.

The joy of proclamation begins with the joy of realization. What is the good thing that done for me? What is it that makes me leap for joy? We can begin by appreciating the gifts that we already have - that we can see, hear and speak. We also thank God for the gift of remembering, imagining, feeling, and understanding. We thank God for the freedom to make choices in our life.

Most of all, we thank God that we have a voice, that we have a contribution to make. We can make a difference in this world. In some way we can make our voice be heard, even if we are not too loud. The crying voice of a child, the soothing voice of a mother and the gentle voice of a teacher can make a difference.

In a country deafened by the noise of guns, political wranglings, and lies, let the voice of truth and goodness prevail. Your voice and mine may be the beginning of a wave of public opinion that seeks the reign of righteousness in this land.