First Reading: Isaiah 35:4-7a
Second Reading: James 2:1-5
Gospel: Mark 7:31-37
We read in today’s first reading from Isaiah: “Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you. Then will…the ears of the deaf be cleared…the tongue of the mute will sing.” Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as we read in today’s gospel.
However, when we reflect on the miracle of the deaf and mute man being able to hear and speak, we may wonder why did Jesus take him away from the crowd? Why does Mark give us the details on the manner in which Jesus chose to heal this man?
Some Scripture scholars tell us that Jesus removed the man from the crowd to avoid making a public spectacle. The man being deaf and mute must have felt isolated from the rest of society – not being able to communicate. Jesus understands and is sensitive to the man’s circumstances.
Further, Scripture scholars suggest that there was a dual healing…Jesus not only opens the man’s ears to hear and his tongue to speak, but opens his heart to know Him, as his Lord and God. Jesus’ words: “Be opened” surely can apply to us as well. While most of us can hear and speak, we need to always be listening to Jesus Christ and be speaking with him!
The people brought the deaf and mute man to Jesus. We don’t know if the man requested to see Jesus or if they were acting out of compassion. What is most important is that he got to Jesus…so whether we reach out to Jesus on our own or someone intervenes for us – the result is the same, we encounter Jesus Christ. Think for a moment on how you became involved in a particular ministry or organization or activity in the parish…many times, someone invited us to help, to join. Maybe we feel inspired to invite someone. Sometimes this invitation comes in the silence of our hearts and mind – we have a sense that it is Jesus inviting us. Here’s an example…when the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration was starting at St. John’s, in listening to the homily that invitation weekend (25 years ago), I felt that Jesus was inviting me to join him for an hour in the middle of the night…so I signed up for the 3 AM Sunday hour – knowing in my heart that I had to respond “yes” to this invitation.
Other times, we hear and listen to Jesus’ call to change, to turn away from sin, to seek Him in his mercy. When we listen to Jesus and pay attention to Him speaking to us – then we can respond “yes” to Him. We pray: “be opened”, that Jesus will open our minds to know Him and his will for us, our hearts to love Him and our lips to be His voice in the world in which we live, our home, family, workplace, school, community …everywhere!
May God bless us always!