Isaiah 35:4-7a James 2: 1-5 Mark 7: 31-37
Miracle stories, like the one we heard today, are among the favorite parts of the Gospel accounts. They can easily inspire us to some day-dreaming, hoping, wishing – that we might be freed of various pains and ailments, and especially of more serious illnesses and disabilities. If only!
But all that is involved n this story tells us that healing is not an end in itself. There is much more. First, there is the setting of the story, as St. Mark gives us his account. It is situated in the non-Jewish part of the country – Tyre, Sidon and the Decapolis or “Ten-Cities.” This reminds us that our loving God reaches out to us even in foreign circumstances. The experience and presence of God can be encountered in unexpected ways. The experience and presence of God is not limited to certain moments of a day or a week, or to certain structures or locations. Our loving God is always present and active in our lives.
Then there is the very physical gestures of Jesus in restoring the hearing and the speech of the man. This is somewhat unusual in the miracle stories so what can we appreciate and understand from it? In a particular way it emphasizes the importance of both hearing and speaking. Ears are to be open to hear and tongues are to be loosed in order to speak. We can begin to recognize the wonder of the presence of God that can be experienced in words of love, care, concern, sympathy and support. Words, too of gratitude, praise and appreciation can be spoken by us or to us, or heard from us by others. We have the ability, the power, the potential in our daily live to hear or to speak about things at are good, true, beautiful – things that reflect God.
This incident recorded in the Gospel also reminds us that the revelation of God takes place through the senses of hearing and speaking. The presence and the reality of God is not mysterious or hidden or secret. It is a genuine reality in our live that we humanly experience. In a particular way this is important when we come together to worship and to praise God. We listen to the words of Scripture, prayers that are said, songs that are sung. God’s message is made known to us and our response is expressed as a common desire to grow in faith and trust in God. We speak in words and in song in order to confirm to ourselves and to one anther the power and the majesty of God’s presence in our lives. Our words heard and said express the value and worth to us and to one another of the presence of and faith in God for us all.
The story we have heard today introduces a bit more of the person of Jesus to us. It also provides us with and understanding of what we are to be and to do because of our identification with him. Our God speaks to us, we respond in prayer and worship now, but also when we go forth from here. We are to hear and to follow whatever call is made to us to reveal anywhere and everywhere in our day to day lives the reality and the truth of our good and gracious God.