September 09, 2012
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Stephen Mifsud (Mission Society of St. Paul – Quezon City)
MSSP House Chapel / Mass for the poor)
Second Reading James 2:1-5
Gospel: Mark 7:31-37
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decap'olis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. 33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; 34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened." 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
Can you imagine your life being deaf and cannot speak.
You watch the tv and cannot hear the words, opening the radio or mp3 and cannot hear, someone calls the phone and cannot here. Someone wants to give you a good news and you cannot hear it. You want to ask something and you cannot talk. How lonely, cut from the world and difficult?
So you have to imagine how awkward and difficult the life of this person was before he met Jesus.
Why did Jesus heal him?
First. Jesus is the Messiah which means Savior. Jesus wants to save everyone including this poor man.
Second. Jesus heals him because he is compassionate. He heals not to show how capable he is, not to praise himself, or because he is proud. The action of Jesus shows his motivation. Jesus takes this deaf man aside from the multitude privately… alone.. Why? He did not want to make a show out of him or to embarrass him.
Not like the politicians. When they give something to the poor or victims of floods they make sure there will be the tv camera and newspapers photographer and journalists. Jesus does not want votes or popularity but he wants a personal relationship. And I could see this in the action of Jesus. Before he touched his mouth he spat … first reaction is “yuck”! But think a bit. I don’t you, but for me the first thing it comes to mind when I hear saliva touching the lips … is a kiss. Jesus did not kiss him on the lips… (hindi siya bakla) but he is saying to him, I love you, I want to be part of your life I want to heal you.
Third. Jesus heals him to give hope also to us. All of us are in a way deaf.
Sometimes we do not hear the cry of those in need. We pretend not to listen to the problems of others. Sometimes we do not listen to the Word of God and sometimes we do not talk to Jesus.
So today Jesus is inviting us to do like this deaf man.
- To search for Jesus. Where is Jesus?.. he can be in the church, in prayer group, ... but also in a quiet place
- Go alone with him. Listen to him and speak with him in your heart.
- Set some time every day in his presence, a healing presence indeed .
- Let him touch you. If you feel that he wants to heal you from your past from your sins, don’t say “no its imposible” but believe he can do anything.
- Open your heart to hear the Word ‘effetah’ buksan. Effetah is the only Word in Aramaic that we find in the gospel of St. Mark. So it is very important.
Jesus is saying Effetah to us. To each one of us
To us adults he is saying be open to creativity, to change in your heart, to change your thoughts, your way of life. Be open to new challenges in life. Be open to see the wonders of God in our lives. Open your arms to help, to hug, to heal. Open your mouth to proclaim how good the Lord is, how loving and merciful he is with you. May others arrive at Jesus through our witness.