Paying attention: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) by Father Steven LaBaire –

I am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear about Jesus opening the ears of a man who is unable to hear. Jesus also removes a speech impediment which had prevented the man from speaking clearly (Mark 7:31-37). Not surprisingly this man’s life is completely changed.

Christians are supposed to continue what Jesus did: Opening ears and loosening tongues.

Whenever we empower people to say what they never had the courage to say before, we continue the work of Jesus.

Whenever we help people to “hear” important truths about life, love, compassion, death and the power of Grace, the ministry of Jesus is carried on.

There is a line in the gospel that could get overlooked though.

It states that first, Jesus “took the man off by himself, away from the crowd.”

That means that Jesus gave this man complete, undivided attention. And that was healing.

Bindaas Madhavi Listen to your kids cropped
Bindaas Madhavi Listen to your kids, Flickr Creative Commons

I know a woman who pays her psychotherapist $150 an hour.

She tells me that it is worth the money because another human being actually listens to her, attentively without distraction or interruption.

“It is healing to feel fully listened to,” she says. “My life has changed.”

Who do we give the gift of complete, undivided attentive listening? I mean no telephone calls, no beeps, no text interruptions.
No noise of television or radio or music. No changing the subject at hand to suit our own purposes…

michael davis-burchat drawn away, from a wonder of the world, Flickr Creative Commons
michael davis-burchat drawn away, from a wonder of the world, Flickr Creative Commons

To whom do we bestow this gift? And, who bestows this gift on us?

In this noisy, stressed, distracted, rushed, multi-tasking world, we may discover that our list is rather short.

Do we grant our family members and friends the dignity an ear that is fully attuned to what they are saying? Or do we all settle for having been “half-listened to?” (Do we have to pay $150 an hour for the “luxury” of finding it?)

Would we all experience more “healing” if we slowed down, listened more and paid full attention?

Maybe “healing” is more within reach than we previously thought.

copyright 2015 by Steven Michael LaBaire

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