O That Today You Would Listen To His Voice!

O That Today You Would Listen To His Voice!

Like the mute man in today’s Gospel, we too are in need of Jesus’ healing touch. If we are to truly become a listening Church, we must first learn to listen to the voice of God, and allow Him to cure us of our blindness, deafness, and muteness.


Readings: Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 95(94); Luke 11:14-23

The following homily was preached to the student brothers during compline. You can listen here or read below:


In today’s Gospel, which comes from Luke 11, we read of Jesus healing a man possessed by a mute demon. The Greek word translated here as “mute” is “κωφος” – a word which can mean both “mute” and “deaf”. Furthermore, Matthew 12 tells us that the man was also blind. So, what we have here is a man who was blind and mute, and possibly also deaf. Jesus casts out the demon possessing the man, and the man begins to speak, causing some to marvel while others speculated about the source Jesus’ authority.


So, what is this passage meant to teach us, apart from the historical fact that Jesus had cast out demons? Perhaps one way of answering this question lies in the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm. If we consider both readings and the psalm together, we will find that a common theme runs through all three of them – the theme of listening.


In the First Reading – from Jeremiah 7 – God rebukes Israel for failing to listen to His voice. He says to Jeremiah, “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you”. And in the Responsorial Psalm, we respond with the words: “O that today you would listen to His voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’


If we keep this theme in mind, one possible way of reading today’s Gospel is that the man is freed by Jesus; he is not just freed from the demon, but he is also freed for the Kingdom of God. Being cured of his deafness, he is free to listen to the Word of God. Being cured of his blindness, he is free to see the wonders of what Jesus Christ had done. Being cured of his muteness, he is free to preach the Gospel to others.


Indeed, unless we’ve been living under a massive rock, this theme of listening should be familiar to us, as it has been heavily emphasised by the Church over the past few years. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been encouraging us to become a listening Church – both as individual Christians, as well as collectively – to listen to the voice of God, and to listen to the needs of our neighbours, especially the marginalised, the outcast, the abused, and the forgotten.


But if this endeavour is to succeed, if it is to be more than just nice words and empty platitudes, we must learn to see ourselves in the mute man of today’s Gospel. It is often tempting to think that it is the other side that needs to listen to me – the people I disagree with, the people I dislike, the people who seem to have all the wrong opinions. It is them who ought to listen to what I have to say. After all, I am right, and they are wrong.


To truly become a listening Church, we must come to realise that we are more like the mute man than we think. Like the man possessed by the demon, we too are often enslaved by our sins, our vices, and our addictions. We too are often deaf to God’s Word; we are often blind to the wonders He has done and the beauty of his creation; and we are often mute when it comes to sharing the Gospel with those around us. Is it any wonder, then, that we often find ourselves also deaf, blind, and mute to the needs of our neighbours – that we are often tempted to just dismiss their concerns because they are wrong, and we are right? If I do not learn to listen to the voice of the God who loves me, how can I learn to listen to the voice of my neighbour?


The good news for us is that there is a remedy for our condition – Jesus Christ. We will never succeed in becoming a listening Church under our own steam. We must look to the Lord and ask for His help. It is only by allowing the Lord into our hearts that we can be healed of our blindness, our deafness, and our muteness. We must learn to listen to His voice, being immersed in the Sacred Scriptures, and having a devout prayer life.


Therefore, let us take this Lent as an opportunity to begin again – to invite the Lord into our hearts, and to learn to listen to Him. Through our fasting, prayer, and alms-giving, let us clear away all the things that distract us from His voice. Let us earnestly pray for His grace and ask for His healing, with faith that He will not refuse us this gift. “O that today you would listen to His voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’


Image: The Prophet Isaiah by Gustave Dore. Courtesy of WikiArt.

Br Jerome was born and grew up in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He moved to England to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath, where he remained to complete an MPhil in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. While in Bath, he helped run the Young Adults' Group in the parish of St John the Evangelist and eventually felt called to the Dominican way of life, joining the Order in 2020. He enjoys playing the guitar and loves discussing all things Scripture-related. His favourite books are The Imitation of Christ and Crime and Punishment.

Comments (1)

  • Katherine

    Thank you, Brother Jerome! I was scavenging for some extra reading this morning, in Houston, Texas – after having searched and found another description of the Rosary in the Dominican Tradition. I am grateful to attend a parish, Holy Rosary, that is helmed by the Dominicans of the Southern Province (USA) and have appreciated learning about the multitude of Dominican friars, brothers, sisters, and nuns across the states and around the world!

    Your compline homily here is brief, vivid, direct, and full of wisdom. And I will pause to ponder it all day! Thank you for your preaching.


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