Sometimes there are people who don’t want to hear. These are folks who have their minds already made up. What they actually mean by their negativity is,”Don’t bother me with facts.” Then there are people who can’t hear because they are really deaf.
In the Gospel for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time, there is a man who is not only truly deaf but also has a speech impediment. (Mark 7:31-37) The people who brought him to Jesus for a cure wanted him to touch the sick person with the laying on of hands.
In the time of Jesus it was important that there be actual touching between the sick individual and the healer. The idea was that there was power that flowed from the healer to the sick person, which often resulted in the healing.
Jesus responded by placing his fingers in the man’s ears and placing spittle on his tongue. Then, he looked to heaven and said “Ephphata,” which in Aramaic means “Be opened.”
A miracle was performed…. So, how did Jesus perform this miracle? By two actions: TOUCHING and PRAYER. A significant way in which we can appreciate this Gospel, is to reflect on how Jesus performed this miracle. By touching and prayer.
Incidentally, there is another way of “touching” besides physical contact. And that is spiritual contact, namely, dealings with the emotions and the mind. An example is one of response when you sense the need of another.
When someone is hungry and/or homeless, is your response one of willingness to help or not? Your response will be based on the thoughts (which later turn to actions) of your sense of compassion.
Prayer does not to be scripted. Even though we often follow a script when we pray to God, we don’t do so when talking to a friend. So why not talk to God as a friend? Often there are needs and other problems that we have, so a simple discussion between “friends” would be much better than a script. But keep in mind that God’s answer to prayer may be “yes,’; “no,”; or “not yet.”
Jesus performed a miracle by “touching” and “prayer.” Maybe by “touching” ourselves or others, in the sense of our value system,(peace, justice, compassion, forgiveness, etc.) we can be of help or not. “Prayer” will validate the request. We may quite likely be performing a miracle…. Who knows?