Papa Can You Hear Me?
With an ageing father who’s hard of hearing and has been suffering short term memory loss of late, our phone conversations are suffused with repetitions, reminders, and raised volume of my voice as we progress.
I recall once, years ago, he asked me why I was shouting at him. I told him that I wasn’t shouting, but that I’ve repeated myself already three times and simply wanted to be heard. He laughed heartedly and apologised for not hearing me the first three times. Despite my father’s hearing loss, he listens to me – superficial, emotional, political, theological, and philosophical matters alike. He has always made me feel special, that whatever I had to say was important. So much so that from my late teens until right before I got married, we’d have lunch dates as often as our schedules would allow; with me often dropping in his office unannounced (There were no cellphones back then, after all.). Over a great meal we would discuss anything and everything under the sun; debate, then either agree with the other or agree to disagree.
In this aspect, my dad follows the example of Our Heavenly Father, who listens to all our prayers. It is only we who dare to question, to think He does not hear us, simply because His reply was not what we desired or not as fast as we wanted
him to. And yet, He is always there, listening to all our woes, praises, pleas, confessions, dreams, contritions, thanksgiving, and yes, even our disgruntlements. How great is that, that we have such a wonderful and loving God?
Sad to say, the same cannot be said of us. How many times had we tuned out at Mass during the readings,
the Gospel, or the homily? Or hear them in one ear and go out the other? How often have we read
the bible, actually understood what we read, and still went on with our old ways? How many times have we knowingly chosen not to do what the Church tells us to, because it “feels ight” or some other justification?
To top things off, all the noise (e.g., mp3 players, smartphones, car radio, idle chatter) in the world today
make it more difficult for us to use our hearts to listen to what God has to say.
With humble prayers, a true contrite heart, and vigilant listening, we would surely be able to hear Him.
Would it then be fitting to change the title of this article to ask, instead, “My child, can you hear me?”