posted on September 09, 2012 16:08
In our first reading this morning from the book of Isaiah, we see Isaiah speaking to the Jewish people. The Jewish people had been taken from their homeland. They were depressed. They were sad. In the words of the prophet Isaiah he spoke the words of hope. He said, “There will be a time when the Messiah will come. And when this Messiah will come he will open the ears of the deaf. He will open the eyes of those who can't see.
He will make the mute speak. He will make the lame leap like stags.”
Then we come to the Gospel reading. And the Gospel reading is now a fulfillment of the prophecy that Isaiah made in the Old Testament because here we see Jesus, and Jesus isn't in his regular place. He is away in another territory to the ten cities. He's there among a population that is not Jewish, and most are pagan. They bring a man to him who probably was pagan and they said, “Jesus, will you heal him?”
Now they didn't believe the same faith, but they had faith in this man Jesus that he could make a difference. So what did Jesus do? He took the man away from the crowd. He put his fingers into his ears, he spit and touched his tongue, looked to heaven and prayed to his God - and the man was healed.
Can you imagine what this man was feeling? Now he is able to speak and to hear. Can you imagine the people around him? How did they see and interpret this event?
But part of the irony is - did all of the people there see this healing as a miracle? Probably not. Most probably did, but not all.
So what does that mean for us today? The question we need to ask ourselves today is - how is our hearing? How is our speaking? Do we have wax in our ears sometimes? Are we not fully hearing what God is telling us whether it be through Scripture or from one another?
Do we sometimes not want to hear because it may mean that we will have to change or do something different? How is our hearing? How is our speech?
Do we use our tongue to proclaim God? Do we evangelize and tell everyone about this wonderful God that we worship and that we love? Or are we afraid to say we are Catholic? Are we afraid to say, “I believe in God.”
How many of us when we go out to eat make the sign of the cross and say our prayer as we do at home? What is our speech? What is our hearing? What is it like?
Interesting enough, whenever anyone is baptized, whether it is by the priest or by the deacon, what do they do? The priest or deacon touches the ear and they touch the mouth of the one to be baptized. They basically say, “Be opened. Make your ears so that you can hear the word of God, and use your mouth to proclaim it in what you do and what you say.” That's what we're called to do.
Jesus worked many miracles. But his main purpose on this earth was not to work miracles. His main purpose on this earth was that he was sent to us to be one of us, to suffer for us, to die for us and to redeem us so that we can be in heaven with him some day.
But yes, he worked miracles. And those miracles did two things. Number one, it pointed to him saying, “Gosh. This Jesus is different. He's God.” And maybe more importantly it tells us what kind of a God we have. We have a God who loves us, who cares for us, who wants the best for us and always is wanting to heal us if we can.
Did miracles stop 2,000 years ago? Are miracles occurring today? Do miracles occur in Quincy, Illinois? Do miracles occur among individuals at Blessed Sacrament Parish? Do miracles occur in your life? And the answer is, yes they do. But importantly do we believe in miracles, do we believe they exist and do we look for them?
If you don't believe in miracles, you won't ask for a miracle. The man in today's Gospel, if he had not come to Jesus and asked to be healed, would he have been healed? Probably not. So part of the message to us today is that there are miracles that occur every day in our life - whether it be the birth of a child, or a peaceful death of someone we love. Would it be a miracle of a job we lost only to find we have a better job.
Are there coincidences in our life? Are there miracles in our life?
We are called today to use our ears to hear the word of God. We are here today to use our mouth to proclaim it. We are here to remember that not only do we receive miracles but also that we are instruments of those miracles.
I think of a family who has had a child or a spouse who has been sick for a long time and is now bankrupt. Then friends and family go out and put on a benefit for them. Is that a miracle? I think so. But it is only a miracle because those people around them, who loved and cared for them, did something to make it happen.
Today our prayer should be that our ears are open, that we take the time to listen to Scripture, to listen to each other, to take some quiet time to be in the presence of God to see what he wants for us to do. Our prayers should be for us to look at our own tongues and our own mouths. Are we evangelizing?
Are we spreading the good news of Jesus Christ by what we say and do?
Finally, the prayer we should have is to make use of all the senses that we have to give praise to God for all the blessings that he continues to pour out on us.
Terry Ellerman is a deacon at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois.