Deeper forms of healing
September 09, 2018 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1st Reading: Is 35:4–7 2nd Reading: Jas 2:1–5 Gospel: Mk 7:31–37
Again Jesus set out; from the country of Tyre he passed through Sidon and skirting the sea of Galilee he came to the territory of Decapolis. There a deaf man who also had difficulty in speaking was brought to him. They asked Jesus to lay his hand upon him. Jesus took him apart from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then, looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him, “Ephphetha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone, but the more he insisted on this, the more they proclaimed it. The people were completely astonished and said, “He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
(Daily Gospel in the
When the people witnessed the miracle of healing that Jesus performed on a deaf man, they immediately recognized in Jesus the God-savior that Isaiah had foretold (Isaiah 35:4-7). They became instant evangelizers when they exclaimed: “He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.” Surprisingly, Jesus silenced them. That was because He was aware that their instant conversion had no roots to survive the test of faith. Like mushrooms that spout in an instant of lightning and thunder, their faith sprouted in an instant of spectacular healing as performed by Jesus on a deaf man.
It takes only one miracle to transform communities into instant worshippers. The obverse is also true. Where there is no miracle obtained people deride God and accuse him of being unresponsive. But they are getting God wrong. God is not unresponsive. It is just that his ways are different. Physical healing is the least of his priorities because his paramount concern is to heal the spirit first. Before he works on the body, he endeavors to open the person’s spiritual eyes to the tears of the poor and opening that person’s ears to the cries of the needy. How pathetic that before God is done, the person is already gone. He goes away looking for instant healing somewhere else.
If miracles create a big bang that generates instant faith, why can’t God allow this big bang to sensitize the faith of mortals? God rarely. Like mushrooms that sprout in the morning and wither in the afternoon, faith generated by the spectacular is short-lived. Such may create instant evangelizers. But evangelization is a lifetime mission. Mushroom evangelizers may just spoil the process. — (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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