Good News for the Day, February 9, 2018
Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time (333)
Jesus left the seaport of Tyre and went by way of Sidon back to the Sea of Galilee, and into the state “Decapolis.” Some people there brought him a man hearing impaired—and who had a speech impediment. They begged Jesus to touch him with his hand. Jesus took him off by himself—away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spat out, and then touched his tongue; He looked up to the sky, groaned, then said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”) Right away, the man’s ears were freed to hear, his speech impediment was gone—and he spoke plainly. Jesus told them explicitly not to tell anyone. (The more he ordered people not to talk about what he was doing, the more they proclaimed it.) People were impressed very much, so they would say, “He has done everything so well! He makes deaf people hear and mute people speak. (Mark 7)
You and I cannot touch an ear to cure physical deafness; we cannot touch a tongue to free a person’s speech problem. It is misleading, of course, to emphasize the medical miracle, the therapeutic healing. It is equally misleading—totally beside the point—to detail the events in this incident in a historical, scientific way.
The event is for us, is about us—what we are reading and hearing—it is the impact we are to take from this—not the awe at a miracle, nor a mere history moment to be read and forgotten. It is all more important for your inner life!
Can you make deaf people hear and mute people speak? Yes! Can humble caring touch a listener so that they hear you? Can you touch a heart through their ears? Could you and I open mouths of people to speak freely? Are we enabling people, rather than arguing to prove them wrong, to convince them of our righteousness–reducing them to silence?
Acting with the spirit of Jesus frees people. It is His approach to individuals whose life has shut down hearing, talking, and seeing—to liberate them from their habits of denial, shyness, blindness and the like—habits which prevent Living in God.
Some people will be physically deaf and blind. The other Life, though, is what is important: people blind to love, avoiding and denying truth. So many fear speaking out, and stay silent. So many are reluctant to accept love, failing to see how welcoming a self-caused discomfort can bring peace, how admitting cowardice can be freeing, how a courageous way of the cross can bring resurrection. These paradoxes—the deeper healing—improve the permanent Life you and I are to grow.