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.”( Mark 7:31-37)
Even though Jesus knew that reports of miracles and prodigious events would lead people to think of him merely as a wonder-worker and consider his Kingdom to be merely another earthly reign, he couldn’t resist the pleas of those who were suffering. The miracles were meant to be signs, confirmations of the truth of his teachings, and invitations to trust and obey him. Unfortunately, although many people were willing to be cured by him, few were willing to suffer with him – that became clear at the time of his passion.
And yet, to be a citizen of his Kingdom means both enjoying his benefits and living under his rule – i.e., bringing thoughts, words, and actions into line with his standard and example. We really can’t have the latter without the former. Unfortunately, we often try to do just that: when the Lord gives, we rejoice; when the Lord asks us to give, we balk – much to his chagrin, and even more, to our loss.
We should never despair of the power of God. No soul is too hardened to be penetrated by Christ’s love and forgiveness; the greatest sinners often make the greatest saints.
Often, we seem to be stuck in our spiritual lives, unable to advance, incapable of overcoming certain defects or sinful habits. Sometimes this discourages us, and we slack off in our efforts to practice self-discipline and to live a vibrant life of prayer. That’s when the devil can make a bold move on us, luring us into a relationship or an activity that actually obstructs the flow of God’s grace in our lives. Precisely then, when we seem to have reached a spiritual plateau, we need to let Christ take us “away from the crowd” (perhaps on a retreat) to renew our interior hearing. His power is never lacking, but our faith oftentimes is.
Prayer of The Day
I want to follow you Lord. You are faithful, and you govern my life and the entire world with perfect wisdom. Open my eyes, enlighten my mind, so that I will discover your presence and your will in each moment, in every circumstance. You never cease to draw me to yourself; never let me stop seeking your face…
The people’s response to this miracle testifies to Jesus’ great care for others: He has done all things well. No problem or burden was too much for Jesus’ careful consideration. The Lord treats each of us with kindness and compassion and he calls us to treat one another in like kind. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us enables us to love as Jesus loves. Do you love others and treat them with considerateness as Jesus did?