1. Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”—that is, “Be opened!”—
And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak”(Mk7:31-37). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. In the 35th chapter of Isaiah the prophet spoke of a day when the Lord will change the sad life of his people, the day when the blind will see, the dumb will speak, the deaf will hear and the lame will jump with joy (5-6). In the life and ministry of Jesus we saw this prophecy fulfilled. In today’s short gospel a deaf and dumb person was brought to Jesus by those who seem to be healthy. They recognized Jesus as a healer and begged him to heal the man by laying hands on him. Such was the popular way of invoking God’s healing power.
3. But Jesus is not just one among other healers. He is God. He therefore preferred not to follow the popular method. He took the man aside and healed him in his own style: touched his ears with his fingers, touched his tongue with his spittle and sighing spoke word of power ‘Ephphatha’. By these gestures Jesus restored the man to health and communion with others. He can now speak and hear. His story has changed. From being a person who is only seen but not heard he took a position of one who can make input in discussion in the society.
4. While performing the healing Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed. Why? He was pained that many who have the capacity to hear are deliberately refusing to listen while many who can speak have preferred to keep mute in situations where their words would have made a difference. Some have even decided not to be in speaking terms with some people. They refuse to hear the voices of certain persons. And such persons were found in the crowd who was pleading with Jesus to heal the deaf and dumb person.
5. After the healing Jesus warned the man not to tell people about the healing. Why? Because such publicity can make people to concentrating on the healer and not on God who is the origin of every miracle. When you compare this with the present day men of God who pay people to proclaim that they have been healed when in truth they have not received any healing, you will understand how unchristian some of these men are. Jesus warned against such wolves in sheep clothing. He said that they are to be known by their fruits.
6. You have a lot to learn from today’s gospel. First, Jesus can turn around any unfortunate situation in your life. All you need do is to come in close contact with him. Second, you have the power of speech and of hearing. Do not keep mute when you are expected to talk and do not turn deaf ear to the cries of the needy. Third, be among those who bring others to Jesus for him to touch them.