Friday, September 11, 2015, is the fourteenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Remembering this horrific day which resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people could result in a renewed sense of fear, suspicion and even hatred toward other people. The anniversary also holds the possibility of rekindling the desire to seek better understanding among peoples leading to a world at peace.
In the Gospel, Jesus opens the ears and mouth of a man who was deaf and mute (Mark 7:31-37). The capacity to hear and speak opened a whole new world to him. Perhaps he heard music for the first time and the sound of chirping birds. He now knew the sound of the voices of his family and friends. He could communicate in a completely new way, actually speaking words with the unique tone and clarity of his own voice.
This Gospel story invites us in the post 9/11 world to once again open our ears to others. For world leaders to find opportunities to listen to each others’ issues and concerns. To listen with greater attention to our spouses, our children, our friends, perhaps even our doctors and priests. We are beckoned to listen again to the voice of our conscience, the cries of those in need, the barely audible moans of those ready to give up. We are bidden to hear anew the voice of God. The Gospel also could be calling us to speak with a new voice of courage, honesty and clarity in our families, at work, at school, in the parish. What is a difficult conversation that it is time to have about a hurt or misunderstanding? This could be the moment for new words of forgiveness. Perhaps the time is now for a new conversation with God.
The victims of the terrorist attack on 9/11 can no longer hear nor speak. Now it is with our ears and our voices that a new world can be fashioned. It has been said that in a dialogue we do three things: We listen with the intention of understanding, we speak taking responsibility for what we say and we look for God in what we hear and say. We honor those who died on 9/11 by engaging in such speaking and listening through which God will show us the way to peace.