He Makes the Deaf Hear and the Mute Speak

Week of September 6, 2015

Jesus has the power to heal, and with this power comes the ability to transform lives. This transformation finds itself in Catholic terms being called “conversion”. In the Gospel, the writers want us to be clear that Jesus is the Son of God. They want us to know that He is the Savior of the world. To reveal this truth, they share with us the healing power of Jesus. The followers, the crowds, the disciples all remark how wondrous is the power of God working through Him. He does all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.

There are many kinds of handicaps in the world. There are many physical and spiritual challenges that everyone embraces. We tend to recognize the ones we can see. We can tell a person is visually impaired by the glasses they wear or cane they use. We can recognize a hearing aid on those who are in need of help in order to process sound more clearly. It does not take long for someone to be spotted who has a speech impediment once they begin to share information. All of these disabilities, impediments and challenges are to be responded to with compassion.

Marla Runyan was the first legally blind runner to compete in the Olympic Games. While she has some sight and could make out shadows, she fell below the line of legal sight. In her book No Finish Line, she tells the story of the difficult times and how she was treated by teammates. At times they lined her up in the wrong lane just for fun. They were not always helpful. One of the best lines of the book, in my opinion, states: “I believe you can be more disabled by your attitude than by vision loss.”

In today’s Gospel we can be all too concentrated on the physical healing of the Lord. Yet we are called to seek Jesus to allow Him to heal our spiritual disabilities. Making our hearts open to the cries of the poor and the needs of our neighbor are crucial to living a life of faith. Making our tongues form words of wisdom and forgiveness to speak of spiritual things is a healing that can transform our lives. Some of the greatest needs for healing are not of our body and the externals, but of our soul. Seek these. We need our words to not cripple and handicap others. We need our ears to hear clearly what is not being said, so that we can respond in compassion. This can only happen with the help of Jesus. This can only happen when we ask for healing. May our ears be opened to His voice, may our mouths find words that profoundly praise the name of the Lord.

Rev. John J. Ouper