Friday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel tells us that “people brought” to Jesus “a deaf man who had a speech impediment.” It is interesting to take note that “people brought him” to Jesus. What a loving act! The gospel does not say who exactly these people are. Perhaps they were family members who only wished that the man could hear the sweet laughter of his children. Perhaps they were coworkers who desired to be able to communicate with the man much more clearly. Perhaps they were total strangers who cared enough about the physical challenges of the man to bring him to Jesus who was known to heal. Whoever they were, these people helped the deaf and mute man experience life more fully by bringing him to Jesus.
Jesus still opens the ears of deaf people and he still loosens the tongues of people today as he did in gospel times. The only difference is the way Jesus continues to do these things. He does not do them through his own hands and voice. Jesus opens the ears of the deaf and loosens the tongues of the mute in our time through the hands and voice of other people. As disciples of Christ, we must be instruments of his healing love and healing power.
When we want to become instruments of healing, the first thing to do is to pray. The gospel reading says that before healing the deaf-mute, “Jesus looked up to heaven” – he prayed before he healed the man. We are to do what Jesus did: pray first… pray that God’s healing power may work through us.
The gospel reading also says that Jesus “groaned or sighed” as he faced the deaf-mute – meaning, he cried out with compassion. And then Jesus put his finger into the deaf man’s ear, touched his tongue, and said, “Ephphatha! Be opened!” Having prayed and expressed compassion, Jesus did something for the afflicted. He did not just pity him, he did not just pray for him, he did something and he acted to ease his pain.
The Lord Jesus is giving us a model to follow. First, we must pray – we must place ourselves in the presence of God and ask God to use us as healers – all the while showing compassion, Then, with prayer and love, we do what we can to help someone in need.
Let us respond to God’s goodness by claiming that healing power for ourselves. Let us bring God’s love by our words and deeds. Let us make God present to others.