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The Sound of Silence

2nd Sunday in Lent - Year A - 12th March 2017

When asked how a twenty one year old could think up such mystical words in his song, The Sound of Silence, Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel fame) simply replied: “I have no idea.”

Yet his words are profound and have meaning for each of us today:

“People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening.”

Today you and I are being led by the hand by Jesus, together with his three chosen disciples up a high mountain, a place where we can be alone. In the words of the song, no one dared disturb the sound of silence, but Peter: “Lord, he said, it is wonderful for us to be here.”

Then the bright cloud covers them with the shadow of silence. Out of this cloud come the words: “This is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favour.”

“The disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear.” Silence is indeed a fearful place, especially when God speaks to us. The action of Jesus is so reassuring: “But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said, do not be afraid.”

Perhaps this Lent is a good time to reclaim silence, that reverential silence which we long for in the house of God, like the silence of the great theatres as the lights are dimmed. But ours is also an anticipatory silence as we await God’s Word and his reassuring touch at Mass. We can turn the words of the song into our prayer:

“Hello darkness my old friend, I have come to talk with you again....”

Fr. Michael McCullagh C.M.

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