I’m not a very artsy guy but this caught my eye in the Washington Post many years ago and I still remember it.
In 2007 Joshua Bell one of the world’s most renowned violinists was in Washington for a concert tour.
The Kennedy Center immediately sold out at $100 a seat.
But while he was there the Washington Post commissioned him to pay his 4 million dollar stradivarius in one of the subway stations in our nation’s Captial
The morning after the concert he played as people went to work and almost 2000 walked by him the subway without stopping to listen or even notice him and he got $37.19 in tips.
I mention this story because our lives are filled with sounds and words.
But many times it’s hard to notice what is of value and what is not.
It’s hard to discern what we should really listen to and what we should tune out.
In today’s Gospel Jesus healed a man who couldn’t hear or speak.
Most of the time when he performs a miracle all that Jesus does is speak and it happens.
Come out and Lazaraus came out,
Be still and the sea was calm,
Talithacum and the little girl got up.
This time Jesus did something different
He put his fingers in the man’s ears and touched the man’s tongue with saliva so that the man would know what was going on.
Jesus accepts each of us where we are
The scholars tell us that Jesus used these actions from contemporary medicine to put the man at ease as a whole new world would of sound would and communication would enter into his experience.
The scholars also tell us that this miracle is both real and symbolic.
It was real because yes there was a real man whose hearing was restored
It was symbolic because by giving the man back his hearing Jesus also connected him with the world in a new and more intimate way.
God gives us our senses, hearing, sight, touch and even smell so that we can connect with each other and nature.
Our sense give us ability to communicate in a profound way and they make it possible for us to to be in communion.
All of our senses all of these God given gifts should be used for what is good and holy.
Our senses and ability to communicate to bring us together rather than cause division.
Just like many people walked by Joshua Bell in the metro or Subway station so much of the world simply fails to notice or hear God’s word.
Quite often God’s Word just gets drowned out by all the other voices and noise competing for our attention.
So many people even life long believers fail to give God’s word its proper place in our lives.
We simply walk through life not knowing what we are missing or even really paying attention.
The Gospel today calls us to reflect on our relationship with God’s Word and our relationship with each other
It calls us to ask ourselves on whose word do we shape our thoughts and our opinions and our lives
On Whose word do we place our hope ?
Whose word directs our life and informs our actions ?
These are very important questions indeed.
The day that Joshua Bell played in the subway.
I was sitting at the supper table in the Priest residence on campus and one of the priests who loves classical music had been to Joshua Bell concert the previous night at the Kennedy Center.
He told us at the table “I will never be able to listen to a violin in the same way again. From now on every time I hear a violin I will compare it to that concert last night.” It was beautiful somehow he could make that violin sing.
Good friends once we hear God’s word once we really hear God’s word
Our lives and the lives of those we love will never be the same.
The way we look at the world will never be the same
Everything will be seen in the Light of the loving Word of God which each of us is called to hear to follow and to share
Let us pray.
Lord help us to notice and listen to your Word
May it shape the way we think
may it inspire our hope
and may it move us all to love without counting the cost.