In today’s Gospel, we learn about a man who is deaf and mute. I wonder how many of us ever thought what it might be like not to be able to hear or to speak to anyone? When you are deaf you are deprived of so many things -other people take for granted. You can’t hear the singing of birds or the sound of the wind in the trees or the laughter of children or the voices of friends. You can’t hear words of encouragement or of hope or advice. Few people take the time to communicate with you as they find it too tedious because they don’t have the patience or the skill. What is more difficult is the person themselves is not able to reach out to anyone and they become isolated.
The story turns out differently in today’s Gospel; the deaf and mute man is brought to Jesus who attends to him, but he doesn’t do it publicly but he takes the young man away from people of influence and allows him to get to know who he is on his own.
Jesus begins by showing him affection. He holds the young man’s head in his hands and looks at him with love. He wants him to know that he sees him and understands his suffering. Jesus communicates to the man in the only language he really knows - by touch. He puts his fingers into his ears and spits into his hand and touches his tongue. He then raises his eyes to heaven and tells him to be open, and immediately his ears are open and his speech impediment removed and he begins to speak clearly. The man returns to the crowd a different person who upon seeing him are astonished.
This lesson in today’s gospel is not so much about the healing of this man but about the care and understanding shown him when Jesus took him aside and was present to him. There are a lot of lonely people in our community and like Jesus, you and I need seek them out and become missionary disciples and minister to them. We are fortunate in our parish to have many wonderful men and women visiting the sick and the homebound, but I think the message in today’s gospel is that everyone needs to become a disciple even if it’s in the simplest way. You and I need to seek out those who are lonely and isolated so they can be filled with hope and with the love of Jesus. Mother Theresa whose feast we celebrate today said: “If you can’t feed a hundred people - just feed one.”
I feel today’s gospel also summons us to recognize our deafness to God’s word - as we are bombarded with so many untruths in society that we begin to believe them. How do we break away from the noise that is drowning out God’s message of hope? By doing what Jesus did with the young man, before he healed him, he lead him away from all the noise and disruptions.
Jesus ran into the deaf man outside of Israel when he entered into Decapolis, in other words he walked into a more secular society, a society whose focus is on other things than God. Jesus takes the young man away from those surroundings so he can be in a place of discernment so when his ears are final open he can hear what Jesus is saying and become connected to the gospel of truth
When Jesus connects with someone he goes all the way because he gives his entire self to them. The creator connects to his created by not only touching his ears and tongue, but by embracing his entire being; He doesn’t only want to heal our senses but he wants us to live our lives fully in his presence. People outside of the city of Israel are hearing things that do not pertain to God, that are actually contrary to his teaching. Jesus wants us free of other people’s rhetoric and attuned to the truth.
We were created for a deeper meaning of life - a life that’s genuine. In a more “secular society” one begins to wonder if they can really hear anything Whatever truths we claim to believe, if they are not based on Jesus Christ they are no truths at all and we would be better off if we were deaf and unable to speak , then we won’t be held accountable for errors that are spread that - mislead and misguide people.
When we live outside of Christianity too long we can easily fall in the trap of thinking we don’t need to follow all this religious stuff because it stifles us and doesn’t allow us to live our lives freely. What does that really mean? The only way those created by God can live their lives freely is by living their lives for the creator because without the creator, they will find themselves wondering away from all that is good.
God created us for the good, the true, and the beautiful and anything that is not of God is not a part of these attributes. Mother Theresa also said “You must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes gods out of power and riches and pleasure - make you forget you have been created for better things.” She also said: “for a sacrifice to be real it must cost, and it must hurt, and we must empty ourselves. Jesus pulled the young man away from the crowd so he could empty himself and become completely focused on him. How often do we take the time to empty ourselves of our desires and wants so we can focus on Jesus? How often have you walked away from the crowds or friends or fun - to spend time with him? You have today just by coming to church, but how often do we really give him time?
Our society is so easily led away from the things of God, because we don’t want God to define the way we have to live because it’s too binding so we take things in our own hands We determine on our own what we need to do that will make us happy If any little thing bothers our life style, we abandon it. We don’t want any rules to bind us, we don’t want to be told what to do because it interrupts our freedom to do what we want. Until the 1500’s if you were christian you were catholic until the great protestant reformation. Even though there were good intentions at first after the first break from the catholic church everyone started to break away from the church until there was no common understanding of church teaching anymore or the sacraments it even began during Jesus time when he told his followers in Jn 6: unless they ate of his body and drank of his blood there would be no life in them - people said, this is too difficult to believe. 3000 people left him that day. Jesus turned toward his apostles and ask: Are you going to leave me to? Peter says to Jesus: Lord where would we go? We have heard and have come to believe you are the holy one of God
God ‘s the biggest offender of people. His laws are too binding.“Who says we can’t steal or cheat or we have to do go to church on Sunday? Sounds like the garden of Eden when satan asks eve “Who says you can’t eat the fruit of that tree; why do you listen to God? He knows you will become like him if you eat of the fruit but what happens the evil one betrays her Eve ate it. Adam joins her and human nature falls.
Relativism is the claim that knowledge, truth and morality exists in relation to culture or society and that there are no universal truths. In otherwards the way we perceive morality is shaped by culture and society we live in or the college we attend, or the people we converse with. Subjectivism is the claim that knowledge is merely subjective. There is no external or objective truth - the way we perceive morality - depends on our own judgment, or by how we feel. We can make up our own rules because we know better. Its almost like a coup. You can’t run a company that way. Why would anyone think God would operate that way. It’s almost like thinking God should say - okay here are the commandments - do whatever you want to with them and - let me know what you decide - we know how that has been turning out –
In today’s Gospel, we learn about soneone who is deaf and mute. I wonder how many of us - ever thought - the gospel might be about us – when are we deaf and mute - when it comes to living out the Gospel of truth - When we are deaf to the gospel of Jesus Christ we are deaf to many things and deprived of the truth.
In our opening prayer we read: “O God by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance through Jesus Christ your Son. Because it is the feast of Mother Theresa I would also like to conclude with one of her famous quotes. I think it can be a format as to how we need to live the gospel. Mother Theresa said:People are often unreasonable and self centered - forgive them anyway
If you are kind - people may accuse you of ulterior motives - be kind anyway
If you are honest - people may cheat you - be honest anyway
If you find happiness - people may be jealous - be happy anyway
The good you do today - may be forgotten tomorrow - do good anyway
If you give the world the best you have it may not be enough - give your best anyway. For you see in the end its between you and God - it has never been between you and them anyway –
You and I were not created for this world but for eternal life. Choose God and you will choose life. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life, who ever believes in me will have eternal life. Break away from the noise. Go to Jesus