“And people brought to Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay hands on him.”
And Jesus showed great compassion to this man. This poor guy who heard no sound, no voice, and probably had little hope. There was always something missing in his life. He could never enter into a conversation.
As a child, other kids probably made fun of him.
As an adult, those who knew him were probably embarrassed for him or because of him.
The man was probably much like a stroke victim today – in his right mind – but unable to express any of his thoughts.
And Jesus showed great compassion to this
man. . .
St. Mark does not record this miracle in his Gospel so that we can marvel at a first century Helen Keller – as wonderful as coming to hear and speak may be.
No, St. Mark records this miracle for a spiritual reason. Remember last Sunday, Jesus confronted the Scribes and Pharisees to go beyond the mere external observances of the law – and challenged them to allow the law to do what it was intended to do --- to lead a person to holiness.
And in reading the rest of St. Mark’s Gospel – we find the Scribes and Pharisees, as well as the Saducees – all the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day --- had no intention of LISTENING to Jesus. No matter how hard Jesus tried to get through to them, they turned a deaf ear to him.
Today, Jesus goes to the Decapolis – 10 cities in pagan territory. By what he says and does in this place he indicates that the Kingdom of God is meant for everyone who is willing to LISTEN. That is why he heals a man who cannot hear. A pagan man – a non-Jew.
Jesus takes the man off by himself, away from the clamor of the crowd. He becomes very physical with the man – puts his finger in the man’s ear /
spits / touches his tongue / groans / looks up to heaven / and says to the man: be opened.
Then he orders the crowd not to tell anyone – he wants the actions of this miracle to speak louder than any words.
--But the more Jesus ordered them not to – they more they proclaimed it --- because these pagans, unlike the Jewish officials of Jesus day believed what Jesus said, they LISTENED to him – and were astonished by what he did.
What are we to learn from this encounter between Jesus and a deaf, mute man?
That the Word of God has great power. God’s word brought creation into being.
God spoke his word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to form a chosen people.
God continued to speak through the prophets like Isaiah –who assured those who would listen to him – that God would never abandon them, even when they refused to listen to God.
God speaks – God’s word is powerful – but are we willing to listen?
No doubt we live in a world filled with many competing voices – vying for our attention. The confusing crowd of voices which tell us that we can be happy if we only have certain things --- or if we exclude certain groups of people.
Jesus take us away from the crowd every week when we come to this place – to hear God’s word and to be nourished by his Body.
In this place God speaks to us. God’s word is powerful. But are we willing to listen?
Do we listen to the voice of the crowd that always tells us we’re not good enough?
Or do we listen to the voice of God which tells us we belong to God. We are created in the image and likeness of God. And we are precious in God’s sight?
Do we listen to the voice of the crowd that constantly reminds us of our failures?
Or do we listen to the voice of God which tells us our present and future need not be determined by our past? That we can be forgiven, and our sins can be forgotten, and God will give us the grace to do better.
Do we listen to the voice of the crowd that tries to fill us with fear and anxiety about our present and future circumstances?
Or do we listen to the voice of God which tells us: be strong, fear not! Here is your God who comes to save you!
In this place, God speaks to us. God’s word is powerful. We should LISTEN to God tell us that today is a blessing and our future is full of hope. We should listen with purpose and intention until we can’t hear the other voices any more.
God speaks to us. God’s word is powerful – but will we listen?
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