23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, year ’B’ Document 381

"Looking up to Heaven, Jesus sighed and said’ Ephphata’, that is, ’Be opened’.
Tuesday 1 September 2015

Is. 35,4-7 Ps. 145 Jq. 2, 1-5 Mk. 7, 31-37

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, year ’B’

"Returning from the territory of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon towards the Lake of Galilee, right through the Decapolis territory. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech ; and they asked him to lay his hand on him.’

The Gospel shows us how Jesus heals each one of us. He will bring this deaf and dumb person out of his situation of being close up on himself. With his fingers, touching the ears, with saliva, touching the tongue : if ever this man did n’t know he had a body, now he does so. Jesus approaches his body discreetly, in a pudic fashion, but also directly, with an intimate touch. Here is a man in his flesh there before Jesus : it is an ideal situation for us to consider unity. The crowd has brought this man along. Jesus lets himself be touched by the misery he carries in his life and takes him aside from the crowds. With an intimate gesture he places his hand on what is causing the hurt and far away from the crowds and loud cries he enters into an intimate relationship with him. So a communion begins between this man and Jesus and the man feels regenerated by it. This poor man recieves recognition and feels that at last someone understands him. It is Jesus reborn in his heart that brings him the hope he so much needed. How astonishing is the way God gazes at humanity, with his loving plan.The prophet Isaiah had already announced it. God, in his merciful tenderness,cannot bear his people’s “illness”

’Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame will leap like a deer,and the tongue of the dumb sing joy.“Jesus manifests the liberation of his people, it is the Heart of God that is revealed in all that is poor, weak, little, in a state of discouragement- this is where we find a true revolution.”Jesus took him aside to be by themselves, away from the crowd, put his fingers intot he man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ’Ephphatha’, that is ’Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and at once the impediment of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.“It is underlined how from the beginning there is the personal encounter, the face to face with him. We might almost say that this deaf man who has a hard time speaking , Jesus takes away from the crowd ; he snatches him away to have some time to speak with him, encounter him and act in his favour. One has to let Jesus do what he wants to do, in this circumstance with that particular man. In taking this man aside, Jesus shows the relationship he has with this man, he makes him one of his own. Jesus is the Word, he brings His Father’s Word : he will therefore give back to this man the word he had lost ; Jesus listens to the Father nd and he hears all those who adress themselves to Him in truth : he gives back tot his man the faculty of hearing. Two men appear in the flesh, two sons. Jesus lifts his eyes to heaven and prays for this man. He has recieved fromt he Father all power but he still lifts his eyes to the Father.”Lifting his eyes up to heaven, ’ he sighs in front of this man, he who has sighed so often throughout his life His heart-felt cry allows mercy to pass, God’s Love : ’Open up.’ This man’s ears open, he can hear the buzzing of the bees, birds singing..He can hear ! He can express himself, say thank you he can give thanks. The ears are central for listening : faith comes from listening to God. Jesus heals to signify that God’s Kingdom is present.

“And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they proclaimed it; their admiration was unbounded, and they said, ’Everything he does is good, he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

This man can go back to the crowd, from now on he will say what he wants and what he doesn’t want : he will hear things and will filter what he hears. Now he will have the means to weigh up every type of gesture and every word : the gestures and words of Jesus. Jesus asks the crowd to say nothing : ’the more he said this, the more the crowds spoke about him’ Perhaps they believe they are creating unity around Jesus, without listening to what Jesus is saying at that particular moment, and this is a shame. God wants to heal us of all our closing in on ourselves. He wants us to stand on our own two feet. Jesus manifests how God is close to the poor and little ones;A change of perspective comes about, there is more peace within our families and community. God’s pasage makes us closer to the poor and little ones. In his own flesh, Jesus took upon himself the wall of hatred that seperated mankind. From now on we can see things as God sees things , act as He acts. Our eyes are opened wide as we

see our families and village. And so our life becomes a gaze full of compassion and love. “The poor, you will always have with you you shan’t always have me with you”, says Jesus. From now on we want to dwell in God’s Compassion.

Let us ask for the grace to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ healing Love for the community