Saturday, September 4, 2021

How do we do everything well



Sunday, September 5, 2021
Lectionary #     Isaiah 35:4-7a; Psalm: 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37

Have you ever read a book by starting with the last few pages? I avoid that but a sister-in-law of mine often did that. I asked her, why? She said, by knowing the ending, I  can sit back and enjoy the characters and overall story.

I don’t recommend that. But her wisdom does apply to reading the gospels. If you know the ending then you can enjoy the characters and even know how the gospel passages read on Sunday apply to our lives.

For example, Mark’s gospel ends by saying: “after Jesus spoke with them, they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere.” This means that we are expected to proclaim the good news everywhere.

How do we do that? What does this gospel passage tell us about, how we do that?

In this gospel we are told how to deal with those people who will be deaf to the good news we will preach.

As we know, Jesus ran into that problem as well, Yes, crowds may have followed him for his miracles, but some, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees did not accept him or believe him. They would not judge anything he did as being done well.

So for this reason, Jesus decides to heal this deaf and mute man in a a  very particular way, hoping that those who are deaf to his word – not just the man he heals – but all those who witness it.

Instead of beginning his healing, as he did with past miracles, by speaking the words, such as he did with the daughter of Jarius, the synagogue leader we heard about a few Sundays ago where he takes her hand says get up, Jesus begins this healing in silence?

In silence he touches the man’s ears and then puts his saliva on the man’s tongue.

By communicating through touch, Jesus is doing is using a form of sign language to communicate with this man who cannot hear.

Then he looks up to heaven to show all the deaf man and the crowd the source of his power is from God, and not some clever magic trick.

And even more importantly, Jesus shares in the limitations of this deaf and mute man, he sighs or groans in the same manner this deaf and mute person might speak.

Then Jesus speaks, Ephphatha - be open, and the man's ears were opened and his tongue released. And the crowd was astounded beyond measure and said: “He does everything well”

Through this healing of the deaf and mute man Jesus’ teaches us three important lessons”

First, our actions are more important than words. Our presence is more important than anything we can say. Just think how important your presence was for those you chose to visit when they were in need.  

Second, speak to those we wish to share the good news with in ways they can hear. Jesus shared in the limitations of the deaf and mute man. St. James knows many will never hear the good news unless we walk with them. For this reason he challenges us in the second reading when he ask: “How often have we made distinctions” How often have rejected the people who do not look like us, act like us?”  Making distinctions of who we walk with will only keep many deaf to the word.

Finally, whatever we do begins with looking to God the source of any power or authority we bring when we proclaim the good news.

In this way, we too will do all things well and many we will hear the good news.



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