The Sunday Project

A Voice in the Silence

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time |

By Violet
woman with a finger over her mouth making a "shh" sign
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First Reading
Dt 18:15-20

Moses spoke to all the people, saying: “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen. This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘This was well said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it. But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.’”

Second Reading
1 Cor 7:32-35

Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Gospel Reading
Mk 1:21-28

Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

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"If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts" is the message that we hear echoed throughout today’s psalm. While a lot of us, myself included, hear that we should be listening to God, we often don’t exactly know how to do so.

So where does God speak to us?

Maybe through the bible or the mass?

While those are great answers, and God may speak to us through them, the place which God speaks to us the most is in the silence. The bible says God’s voice comes not through a thundering earthquake or storm, but instead through the smallest whisper.

Though what does it mean when God is speaking to us through the silence? How do we hear God’s voice when by definition silence is the complete absence of noise?

God’s voice is so powerful it is able to resonate within us not only through words, but also through our emotions and who we are as people.

We are all said to be created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we all have within us a piece of God’s voice and will.

God’s will acting within us is multidimensional. It effects different aspects of how we are in ways that vary from person to person, thus creating the wonderful uniqueness of people.

Yet, evil is also powerful. It has a tool that it can use to silence God’s voice within us: fear.

This fear manifests itself societal rules and expectations, in how humanity as a species likes to force people into boxes based on characteristics or traits.

We live in a world where almost all us — both people that are queer and people that are not — are asked to silence some part of ourselves on a daily basis to fit in with arbitrary rules for what is "normal."

For a lot of us, we give in to anxiety which society places on us. Sadly, I know I’ve fallen victim to this in the past — especially in my case with my gender. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life fighting back against both my feminine side and the feelings that I am meant to be a girl. Both of which I am personally working to no longer fight against as I work to live my life as my true self.

I tried to silence part of God’s voice in my life for a long time. At least part of it has to do with how unaccepting society can be to people who are not cisgender and heterosexual.

Though my efforts were in vain.

The funny thing about being trans or having any other queer identity is you can’t outrun your identity. You can ignore your feelings, but they will never go away.

You can't out run your queerness because it has roots in what God wants for you as an individual, and God's will is far mightier than the will of evil.

How can we truly hear and follow the word of God? We can follow the word of God by allowing ourselves to be ourselves. We can follow the word of God by ending our self-repression and pain.

It can be a hard thing to accept yourself, to accept what God wants for you against the world’s box-them-up nature. It can very difficult to exorcise your demons of fear. If you keep working one day at a time, fighting for acceptance of what God wants for you, and listening to God in the silence and the noise, you will get there.