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Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 35:4-7A
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37
Today˅s scriptures beseech us to see, hear and proclaim God˅s Word.
We might think, at first sight, that today˅s Gospel has little to do with us, since we may
not be physically deaf and/or mute. Nevertheless, what the Gospel relates is not just a
pious fable but rather a demonstration of what God can do for each one of us, if we
come to him as we are. We should never be surprised by the extraordinary details of the
miracles of Jesus, nor by the power revealed in them. They are, first and foremost, a
manifestation of the sympathy and compassion he felt for those who came to him in
need. What he once did, he can do again in our day.
The first thing to notice is that the deaf man was brought by others and he remained si-
lent in the presence of Jesus. His companions asked Jesus to lay his hands on him, and
the deaf man accepted willingly what others did on his behalf. Rather than any effort on
his part, what was needed for him to be cured was the compassion of the people around
him. If it had not been for the people who brought him to Jesus, the deaf man would
never have been healed. Jesus simply looked up to heaven and said, ˈBe openedˉ. Je-
sus healed that man not just from deafness, but especially from the solitude suffered by
those who cannot communicate. By putting his fingers in the man˅s ears and touching
his tongue with saliva, Jesus showed that he took the man˅s illness seriously. By restor-
ing his natural capacity for communication, he brought him back into the community and
restored his human dignity.
Only if we understand and value the capacity for communication that God has given us,
can we appreciate the deaf man˅s healing. If we are content to appear deaf and mute
before God and neighbour, or if we seek solitude to avoid communication, then we will
fail to understand how the God saves us from greater evils by restoring our hearing and
speech. We live in a world full of noise but with very little dialogue, a world in which
many people speak but few listen. We neglect our neighbour by not listening to him and
ignoring his needs, and very often our relationship with God is similar to that with our
neighbour. We pay little attention to God and sometimes we hide from him. We are well
able to speak but we are becoming incapable of listening, strangers to our friends and