Be careful how you hear.
Like many people I took normal hearing for gratntd. Even though I had worked with deaf people over the years, I now see that I had no real appreciation for the challenges. For example, in my ignorance I thought that deafness meant living in silence. The constant roar of tenitis in my deaf ear means my world is never quiet. And I can also look back now and see how I did not use the gift wisely.
The simple truth is that we human beings cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. This often makes it hard for us to listen, to truly hear what another person is saying. We listen up to a point, and then an idea pops into our heads, perhaps a response or a reaction to what the person is saying. The minute we turn our attention to that idea, we are no longer listening. We may have enough self control not to interrupt, but that does not mean we are listening.
It has been less than four months but I can already begin to see how joining in world of the Single-Sided Deaf (as it is called) has been a gift. It has forced me to pay attention. Even with the hearing-aids I have to focus if I am going to hear what someone else is saying. If my attention wanders, I lose the words. But this is not a bad thing at all. It forces me to listen, then process, then respond. As I see it, it cannot but make me a better person, and certainly a better priest.
Even partial hearing is a tremendous gift that we should never take for granted. Like all gifts from God, it uses be used with the greatest care. Today’s gospel offers each of us the opportunity to pay attention throughout this day to how well we use this gift. In order to hear, we much choose to listen.