This afternoon we hear Jesus heal a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. There are several other forms of deafness or speech impediments that each one of us needs to pay attention to and ask Jesus to heal us from.
There is a café in my hometown of Jinja that I like to patronize. They have some of the best local cookies and prepare tea the way my grandmother used to prepare it. So, every time I am back home, I make a small “pilgrimage” to the café just for memories’ sake.
There is something unique about this café, though – it is owned and entirely run by staff with hearing and speech impediments. For those who follow me on social media, I posted some pictures of the café. The café is uniquely named “Sikia” which in Swahili means “Listen” or “Hear.”
The café has become a unique space where people are able to listen or to hear each other in ways beyond the sensory hearing. Even when I do not know any sign language, my order has never gotten mixed up. I communicate well with the staff at Sikia.
Slow Down, Be Attentive
If we can train ourselves to slow down and be attentive to other people, we are able to hear them and to speak to them in other ways. If we tune our hearts well, we can hear their sadness, we can hear the excitement in their lives, we can hear the agony in their lives, we can hear the joys in their lives, and we can hear the needs in their lives.
The challenge is that we struggle with interior deafness and speech impediments that make it difficult to communicate. Attitudes and prejudices can make it difficult for us to listen and to communicate with others. Pride can make us deaf to God and to our neighbors. Extreme anger or wrath can make it difficult for us to listen to a different point of view. Envy, jealousy, and greed can make us so self-focused that we become deaf to the needs of others.
Thank you, God, for all the gifts you have given us. Give us the grace we need to share those gifts with others. Heal us of our spiritual deafness so that we can hear You in obedience and open our hearts so that we can be attuned to the needs of our family members and neighbors. Amen.
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About Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C.
Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C. is the President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. Father Fred, a native of Uganda, has multiple degrees including theology, philosophy, and communications. His native language is Lusoga and he speaks English, Luganda, Kiswahili, and Rutooro. He has been a teacher, researcher, author and family minister. Father Fred is committed to helping build God’s masterpiece one family at a time.