Jesus miraculously heals a man who is deaf and mute. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Religion so he can rejoice in the Liturgy of the Jesus the Divine Priest and by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can always speak and write with dignified and uplifting words.
23rd Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday Cycle B – Mk 7:31-37
Returning to the area of Decapolis (“Ten cities”), Jesus is met by a large crowd who have been evangelized by the man He earlier freed from demon possession (Mk 5:17). A man who is both deaf and has a speech impediment is brought forward and the crowd begs for Jesus to simply lay His hands on the deaf-mute man to heal him.
Rather than immediately heal the man in front of the crowd, Jesus, for His own mysterious reasons, takes the man aside privately and heals with multiple deliberate steps, perhaps to help the man adjust to and accept the miraculous healing: Jesus puts His fingers in the man’s ears, spits on His finger (saliva was thought to have healing power), touches the man’s tongue with His saliva, looks to Heaven, groans and quietly says, “Be opened!” (Aramaic, Ephphatha). The deaf-mute immediately is able to speak clearly despite having never heard a spoken word in his life.
In a strange twist, the man who has lived in silence and unable to speak, has been healed but is now commanded by Jesus to remain silent about the miracle; Jesus may desire to help the newly healed man avoid becoming a curiosity. But family and friends who have shared the suffering of the man who communicated with signs and garbled noises, are astounded and cannot keep quiet as Jesus requested. Word spreads and Jesus’ reputation grows as the one who fulfills prophecy (Isa 35:5-6): “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at both the miracle and the method by which Jesus, the Divine Priest, heals the deaf-mute man: though He can heal with a thought, Jesus uses a gradual process (takes the man aside, puts fingers in ears, spits and touches tongue, looks to Heaven, groans, cries out), perhaps to help the man adjust; prefiguring the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, Jesus anoints the man with His own saliva; using supernatural Power, Jesus heals the man, and despite never having heard a spoken word or learned language, the man can both hear and speak clearly.
Rejoice in the Liturgy of the Divine Priest
Realize: Jesus comes to men in the Incarnation and offers many signs and symbols which stimulate the senses to help them believe; Jesus heals the deaf-mute with multiple physical actions which still cause men to marvel. Likewise, the celebration of the Christian mystery in the Liturgy is God-given and engages all a man’s senses.
Believe: Reflect upon The Meaning of the Liturgy (CCC 1066-1112) and How the Liturgy is Celebrated (CCC 1135-1209).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so I am always awed by the signs and symbols of Your Liturgy, and my mind and senses are joyfully drawn to You each time I am blessed to receive Your blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Be counseled by the Spirit to holy speech
Realize: Imagine the gift of being able to express yourself after a lifetime of being deaf and mute. Today, the precious gift of speech is a source of great sin in a world of divisive speech, political correctness to the point of dishonesty, anonymous attacks online and widespread foolish and vulgar talk.
Believe: Reflect upon Truth (CCC 2464-2513).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I am guided by You to avoid trivial and wicked talk and always use God’s beautiful gift of speech to speak the fullness of His Truth with charity towards all.