He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak


Today is the Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, and Isaiah offers comforting words: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.” Orderliness was godliness for the people of Israel to whom Isaiah was announcing this news. Both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judea were in grave danger from Assyria. Hope seemed futile. But then God told them, “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God; He comes to save you.” Then He added, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf will be cleared.”

To be blind, deaf or lame would be viewed as being out of order. Earth and earthlings were to be like the stars, but there were break-ups. What we hear today is the promise of these fractures being healed, not only those of the physical human body, but in the earthly places as well. The dry land will be with water and the flowers will bloom again. The orderliness of God will be present and the fractions will be made whole. It will be the day and time of the Promised One, the Messiah!

In Mark’s Gospel, we read that Jesus is tired of the lack of faith and the constant attacks of the Pharisees in Judea and Galilee, so He travels up to pagan territory called the Decapolis (the Ten Cities). Here, people are delighted to see Him. They bring before Him a man who can neither hear nor speak, and beg Jesus to heal him. Taking the man aside, the Master heals him. At this, the Gentiles proclaim that the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled through Jesus, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Jesus has met the Messianic test. We have proof, He heals the person from his being unable to hear or speak and in other situations the blind to see. The heavens have come down and earth will become again a well-planted, well-ordered and well-producing garden.  The people were astonished! In the Jewish communities of those times, this man’s being “out-of-order” separates him. Having hearing difficulties in itself can distance the hearing impaired from others as well. So this man was at a double-distance which naturally results in his feeling inferior, or less a person, unrelational.

God’s word is always fulfilled. It may take a long time, but His power will always come through. In our own day, we need to pray harder and believe more strongly that God can heal the brokenness of our society, crush the evil that threatens, and restore peace and justice in our land. The price, of course, is for us to work harder for the poor and destitute, to relieve the poverty which has reached alarming proportions in our country. That often means sacrificing some of our own possessions. After all, God usually favors the poor. As St. James teaches us in today’s second reading, “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He promised to those who love Him?” On Judgment Day, we will be happy to be counted among those who have little, rather than with those who have gathered many of the goods of this world but have failed to share them.

Lord Jesus, open our ears to the cries of those among us who need our support. Let us come together to raise our voices against injustice. Amen


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