Deaf? Mute? Yeah, right

Sometimes in the ministry of Jesus, he’s a standup comedian. He just doesn’t gets the laughs from us because we’re in church. Just like my attempts at humor seem to be only quietly received.

Sometime comedian Jesus gives us the punchlines that punches us right into our hearts if not even deeper within our souls.

And now, here’s the serious humor.

Jesus says, “A guy who can’t hear walks into a bar. On top of that his speech isn’t Christian and barely human. What’s the guy to do? The bartender doesn’t know sign language and the deaf guy really wants a drink. Point to the tap beer or the liquor bottle? Play charades for a half hour? He’s thirsty. The guy who can’t hear and whose speech is garbled.

“One thing leads to another,” so the saying goes. Jesus says, “One thing leads to the other thing.” You can only get to the other thing until you address the first thing. AA isn’t only about not drinking any more, it’s about honestly exploring your life with the power of your “Higher Power,” however you define that. Stop taking recreational drugs doesn’t make your life now healthy and whole. (By the way, what a dumb phrase. There’s nothing “recreational” about drug abuse.)

“Recompense” and “vindication,” Isaiah tells us. The first is repayment and the second is victory, freedom. Our faith answers and provides both. Repayment is powerfully bringing us back to the truths of our lives through faith. Coupled with sincere prayers and a genuine emptying of ourselves, repayment and vindication is ours.

The guy in the bar could hear. He wasn’t deaf. And here’s the Jesus joke. The guy couldn’t hear, ponder or contemplate what he was saying. Muffled, jaded speech full of anger and self importance. Playing Charades was just his failed human charade. A coverup, a camouflage as we all can be or do in our lives.

So, what happens? His soul decides that the soul will not bear hearing anymore of his silly words, his wrong actions and his destructive behaviors. All those selfish, self important, protective words that includes no one else but himself. So the soul says, “Enough of this!” The soul shuts down and closes his ears, apparently the only living saving part of his body. Closed down until his speech becomes life giving, healthy and whole.

Listening to the soul, Jesus tells the soul to reopen the guy’s ears. So, the soul, his religious breath (and our religious breath), complies. Done so to repay and vindicate the new words that hopefully will come from the guy’s mouth.

And there’s the punchline from our sometime comedian, Jesus Christ. Laughter, optional.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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