September 9, 2012: 23rd Sunday in Oridnary Time
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, Ephphatha!–that is, Be opened!–And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mark 7:31-37)
This miracle is one of the ones that Jesus described in quite a bit of detail: 1) he took the deaf man off by himself so no one could see what he was doing
2) he put his fingers into the man’s ears
3) he spit on his own finger and touched the man’s tongue with his finger
4) he looked up to heaven and called out to his ears “Be opened!” And after Jesus did all these things the deaf man could hear once more.
Why do you think Jesus did all these things in the way he did?
I think no one is sure about why Jesus cured this man in this way. Turn all of the things that Jesus did over in your mind–or talk with your friends about them. Perhaps he did not want to have people talking to one another about what they saw him do–since often people in a group see different actions and the real story is not accurate. Perhaps he did not want to encourage more people to come to him and ask for a miracle. Perhaps he did not want the deaf man to be out in public while he cured him, since this was an act just for him, offering him a new life as a hearing person. We will never know, but thinking about and talking with your friends about this miracle may make Jesus more human and real to you.