We hear so many things from many places: TV, internet, peers, friends, family members, school, etc. The voices we hear from these places tell us what we need to be important, to be happy, and to be somebody in society. For instance, they tell us we need to have a certain kind of body structure in order for people to love us or regard us as important; we need to get some cream if we are to really have the right skin; we also need to do something to our lips and teeth; etc. These voices also insist that we need to possess certain things in order to belong to a particular class: for instance, we need to live in a particular neighborhood, have a particular kind of house, have as friends people of a certain class. These are absolutely necessary to feel important and of value. Economically this means that we should be ready to spend money; sometimes the money we do not have. But they also tell us we can get whatever we need on credit, because it is necessary for us to be important – according to the standard! And so, in order to “meet up”, we live beyond our means, and get into debt. Oh, but the attorneys ask us for money to get us out of debt. A spiral of deceit and anxiety! But we are ready to stake our lives for it. Otherwise, we feel like an outsider, a nobody, a loser! Wait a minute! They also tell us we should never get old; in fact, if we get old, we should be sorry for ourselves, as if we have control over getting old. These false and deceptive voices leave many of us perpetually anxious and unhappy; always under pressure to succeed, to meet up, to meet the standard, to be accepted, and on and on! As we go in search of these things we hear, we lose the peace the Lord gives in our souls. We are deceived!

No wonder then a lot of people are miserable and confused. Their sense of self-worth and emotional stability constantly fluctuate like the Michigan weather; and they never feel they have enough of anything: they need to meet up – but they never ask: up to what? Who determines what we have to meet up to? Expectations! Expectations! Expectations! Very destructive of the very seed of joy God plants in us! Yet, very few people are able to sit back and ask a vital question: how truly true are the things I hear? “Ephphatha”, “be opened”! Jesus spoke these healing words to the deaf and dumb in this Sunday’s gospel. He opens his ears so he can hear the Word of God and his mouth so he can proclaim it. You cannot proclaim the word you have not heard; and what you proclaim is what the Word has done in your life.

Against the false and seductive voices around us, the Word of God comes gently to you, telling you that you are just enough. You do not need a large house to be happy; you do not need a straight leg to be happy; you do not need the latest car to be happy; you do not even need to meet up to anything. You are enough, simply because you are a child of God. That makes your life simple. The Word of God that you hear becomes a discerning tool you have in your hands. With it, you let the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Himself, guide you through the seductive voices in and around you, you will experience true peace, deep joy, and you will not stop praising the Lord every day.

For this week, just pay attention to the things you hear from inside and outside you; the TV, friends, peers, ads, etc. and ask the simple question: is it true? Do I really need this? God bless!