Gospel Mark 7:31-37
The pandemic came to destroy something very important in our lives, and it’s not our health. It is the ability to have relationships, to have communion, to build together each other, humanly speaking and spiritually speaking, in moments of joy, sadness and sorrow. Our relationships are challenged. When we meet people, many of us are cautious about getting infected and keeping social distance. All these barriers are needed for our health but it undermines and puts in a difficult situation our spiritual and emotional integrity.
In the First Reading and in the Gospel, what the prophet Isaiah promised and what Jesus did, is to return the blind and deaf man to a normal relationship. The ability to talk, to listen, to communicate and to be self-sufficient. Isaiah proclaims the same in the First Reading – the blind can see, the deaf can listen, the lame can walk and the mute can speak. This is a promise and Isaiah invites us with these strong words – fear not, be strong. More than ever we need not only to listen to these words; we need to believe these words. The Psalm gives us that assurance. Each verse of the psalm is not about us, it’s about the Lord.
It is the Lord who preserves fidelity, it is the Lord who gives bread to the hungry, it is the Lord who opens the eyes of the blind, it is the Lord who loves the just, it is the Lord who upholds the orphan and the widow, and it is the Lord that reigns forever.
It is the Lord that is with us. One of the big challenges in our faith is when we want to take God to the side and put ourselves in the centre, thinking it’s about us. Even when we pray and live in situations of turmoil, it’s not about us, it’s about the Lord that comes and wants to rescue us. It requires from us the ability to believe and to ask God to accept our limitations.
In the Gospel there are few elements that can help us in our meditations and reflections. They hear about Jesus. The important thing about the miracles that Jesus performs is that the person that is sick or in need of the miracle, is not the person that comes to ask for the miracle. Remember the paralytic that was brought into the house through the roof? The man didn’t open his mouth; it was other people that looked after his needs that took him to Jesus. It the same with today’s Gospel. They brought this man that was deaf and had an impediment of speech.
This reminds us of the power of the prayers of intercession, reminds us also of the responsibility of people’s difficulties. The temptation when we suffer, the temptation when we are challenged in our faith, is only thinking about ourselves.
It is simple with the vaccine. We hear people that are sceptical and scared of the vaccine. The bottom line – this is selfishness. We are thinking about ourselves. What if we die? We can die anyway. What if we get sick? We can get sick anyway. It is not only about us but about others and the community. We don’t obligate anyone to get vaccinated but it is a moral obligation and action.
Think about others, like the people in the Gospel Reading. They took the responsibility of others in order to protect others. We are invited to do the same.
They took him to Jesus. There is a dynamic between the community and private. Jesus takes the man privately. Jesus isn’t a miracle maker. He doesn’t want people seeing Him doing miracles to gain popularity. Jesus wants disciples. He desires disciples and not people that look for miracles. Many times in our faith we are challenged. I pray and pray and God doesn’t listen to my prayer. Because I wanted a miracle. I wanted God to do what I want. Taking the man away from the community, Jesus does two simple acts. He puts His fingers in his ears and spat and touched his tongue. This ‘spat’ is also a symbol of the wind in Genesis when God breathed into Adam and Eve to give them life. God is giving him back the dignity to have relationships, to communicate and to understand. In this private encounter, Jesus says, be opened.
Probably today we need to be opened. There are areas in our lives that need to be touched by Jesus. He needs to put His finger in our ears and give us the new air, breath and life that give us the ability to have relationships with God, with the community and with ourselves. Be open to His grace, be open to change, be open to His will and be open to the needs of others. It is not only about us, it’s about others. Let us also take those moments when Jesus can take us privately, far from the community, and there He can console us and touch us, and there we can proclaim like the Psalmist – It is the Lord. Amen.