Gospel Mk 7:31-37
“He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
Recounted in the Gospel today is an encounter with Jesus that radically transformed the life of a man who was both deaf and mute.
When we consider the experience of the man who suffered this double disability we are moved with compassion. How difficult would it be to live that existence today, let alone in first century Palestine!
It seems that the friends of this man were equally moved with compassion – they had no way of helping him, aside from bringing them to the one who they hoped could do something for him.
This encounter is one which no doubt would have radically changed the course of this man’s life, indeed it would be a key, life-changing experience for him.
Moved with compassion, and in a genuinely human way, Jesus reaches out to this man and enters into his suffering. He touches those parts of him which are disabled – the man’s ears and tongue. The physicality of this is particularly telling. Jesus communicates healing and truth through his body, through the power of touch. His encounter with this man is bodily.
How often we refuse to take to Jesus those elements of our lives which we do not work as they should – those sinful habits, those selfish desires. Instead of seeking him out and bringing these things before him, we hide them away in the vain hope that through our own determination or perhaps the ‘miracle of time’ they will somehow right themselves.
Today’s Gospel invites us to an encounter, one which is total and complete, which has the potential to transform us radically: An encounter which is not just spiritual but, as we’ve read recently in John 6, bodily. Are you willing to meet him?
“Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”