Is 35:4-7a, Jas 2:1-5, Mk 7:31-37
Down the ages those words resonate: He has done all things well, he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak. There is no doubt in our minds that Jesus was the Son of God and that he can perform great miracles, both when he walked this earth and indeed also in our own day. But miracles and signs and wonders are not really what Jesus is about. They are not his primary purpose. They are not what he came among us to achieve.
What he came for was to give his life in sacrifice for our sins so that we might be saved and have the way to eternal life opened up for us. He came also to teach us and to open our eyes and ears, to heal our blindness and dumbness. The particular aspects highlighted in today’s Gospel passage are speech and hearing. Jesus opened that man’s ears but in a real sense he opens all our ears. He opens them to the Word of God, to the words of those who are in need, in misery, in despair.
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighbourhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.
The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,
"What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"
The young boy was apologetic.
"Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded.
"I threw the brick because no one else would stop...."
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.
"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.
Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:
"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us.
Jesus speaks to us. He does so in a myriad of ways: through his words in scripture, through the mouths of our brothers and sisters, through signs and events, and seeming coincidences in our own lives. He quite often has to break through a lot of barriers to make Himself heard. We put up many obstacles such as our prejudices, our treasured opinions, our so-called experience.
Frequently we actually make ourselves deaf to the Word of God, especially if we feel that on hearing it we might be obliged to make some changes in our lives. We easily delude ourselves into making exceptions to the Gospel to suit our own particular circumstances.
Jesus, however, can break through all this. He only has to say ‘be opened’ and we will hear his saving words.
Lord, unblock my ears; help me to hear what you have to say to me.
Lord, loosen my tongue so that I may bring your Good News to all I meet.
Lord, help me to see around me those who are in need. Amen