September 6, 2015: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary 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)
The readings today and throughout the month of September challenge the ways of the world. The words of Isaiah today encourage us to fear not, to recognize that it is God who saves us – saves and heals us in so many ways – in our bodies, in our minds and in our spirits. Jesus, in the gospel reading, shows a very clear example of giving to one who asks for healing – no questions asked. The crowds were astonished at the miracle of the deaf man receiving both the gift of hearing and the gift of speech. Jesus asked them to keep the healing a secret but they couldn’t, they had to tell everyone. We really aren’t sure why Jesus asked that but maybe it was because he wanted each person to experience him on their own, to meet Jesus and to see for themselves who he really was. Would you have been able to keep this wonderful secret?
Let’s consider today how we respond when we know Jesus is asking something of us — often spoken through words of our parents, teachers and friends. Do we respond eagerly, ready to do what we are being asked? This week let’s listen to the words of others, particularly when they are asking something of us. And let’s respond as if we were responding to Jesus – — and perhaps astonish those around us!
Thank you for the insight.