Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading I Kings 11:29-32;12:19
Gospel Mark 7:31-37

He ordered them not to tell anyone.

Perhaps the difficulty that many of us modern persons have with prayer is nothing more than the fact that we’ve forgotten how to have a conversation with anyone, much less with the Almighty. In the Gospel today, we see Jesus take aside a man who is both deaf and mute. Jesus heals him of his ailments. Jesus tells those around them not to speak of the miracle. But immediately, they proceed to do just that, and the more He orders them not to, the more they do it. These people, maybe, are examples of what happens during our own prayer: there is praise of God, words spoken about God, and even words spoken to God. But all these words drown out Jesus’ demand to be silent.

The English word “obedience” comes from the Latin word which means “to listen”. These people in the Gospel refuse to listen to what Jesus is telling them, and so, even in praising Jesus, they are disobeying Him.

In our prayer, in our conversation with God, we should listen at least twice as much as we speak. More importantly, we should listen first, before beginning to speak to Him. Silence, though, can be deafening. Were we to stop saying what we want to say, we might lose control of the conversation, and there would be no telling what we might hear in that silence. Perhaps what God has to say to us would be difficult for us to hear, and would demand self-sacrifice from us.