A group of people brought the deaf man to Jesus and begged Him to lay his hand on him—a group effort. Bringing folks to Jesus is the vocation of every Christian.
Naturally we have to trust people. We can usually tell when someone wants to help us. Yet, in an atmosphere of so many lies, fake news, cheating—we tend to be skeptical. Perhaps the deaf man was skeptical at the beginning but he surrendered to the moment. Notice that Jesus put his finer into the man’s ears and spitting touched the man’s tongue. Pretty intimate actions from a complete stranger. Yet, because the deaf man trusted, he came out the winner. He certainly made up for lost time. The man would not stop talking, mostly about what Jesus had done for him. The folks who witnessed the miracle were also boisterous in proclaiming praises about Jesus. We have a tendency to forget the miracles in our life, while we remember what we think were un-answered prayers. The disappointments stick out in our mind more than when the hand of God has healed us. If we reminisce there are countless encounters of God’s grace that has carried us through dark moments in our life. Have we given witness to the mercy of God? Did we talk to others about how God intervened when all seemed lost? Maybe we were embarrassed or felt that no one would believe us. God does not need our advertisement; but He deserves our gratitude. Gratitude can be expressed in giving witness of God’s kindness to us. When people are at death’s door—at the hospital, at home, in an accident—through intercessory prayer, through the Sacrament of Anointing, the Eucharist—a person can regain their strength and come back to life. Desperation can cause us to draw into ourselves—to not trust.
Deafness can come in many forms. The world of silence is only imaginary for the majority of us. However, for some, deafness is a reality—a physical limitation. Sign language, surgery, lip reading have all aided in being about to communicate with the deaf. Yet, we can only appreciate deafness from a distance. Temporary loss of hearing caused by loud noises, or infections or an obstruction can help us to better understand the world of silence. We read about people like Helen Keller, Beethoven or the deaf man in the Gospel and wonder how they felt. But we can never walk in their shoes.
Consider that there are none so deaf as those who will not hear. Lots of folks have selective hearing. A deliberate choice not to hear can be sinful, especially when we choose not to hear the cry of the poor. The poor do not have to be people on the street. They can be our relatives in the next room, our spouse, our neighbor. “I’m lonely, I’m sick, I need you.” We can choose to listen or to be deaf. The voice of Jesus resonates through the ages: “Ephphatha!” “Be opened!” Unless we are opened we are not going to hear—means being opened to the grace of the moment. Be opened to what the other person has to say, even if we disagree. We’ve all heard the expression, “Sounds like two deaf people talking to each other.” Shouting will never help. We raise our voice when we are angry or when we think that someone is not listening. Changes can occur when we begin to listen to voice within. God is always trying to speak to us. Turning off the distractions, trying to pay attention will help us to be opened.
The Lord does not give up on us. We should not give up on each other. Time to listen to the beauty all around us. Be opened.