Isaiah 35:4-7, James 2:1-5, Mark 7:31-37
When you come to certain places, villages, parishes etc, people are known with one thing or the other. We know many people with the good things they do. While we also know many others with the bad things they do.
Everyone has something he/she is known for. Once a person is mentioned, we already know the type of person the person is.
In one burial mass I attended a few years ago, the poster of the deceased reads “the peacemaker is gone”. Even the priest who preached the homily of that day took his time to praise the deceased whose hunger for peace has saved a lot of broken homes.
People also told me that when it comes to making peace, the deceased ranked first. He was known for making peace and mending broken homes
In the same way, when we want to encounter someone who does well and knows how to do things well, then we have Jesus Christ. Jesus does all things well. This may sound like a motivational statement, but I am not motivating you, this is reality.
One important thing we have to know about Jesus is that He does all things well. When We mention “all” we also include the ones we want and the ones we do not. What we want may not be what He wants. but when He does the one He wants, it is always well.
The reason I chose this topic today is that it is one of my favourite inspirational statements especially in the time of challenges. Whenever the challenges come. I will simply involve Him and then begin to make an effort.
Deeply in my mind, I will believe so strongly that I will never be defeated. The Lord is the Shepherd and when the Lord is Shepherd, there is always a certainty that what He does will be well.
Doing things well can be seen as part of the biography of Jesus.
Before the birth of Jesus, the angel Gabriel came to Joseph and told him that Mary will give birth to a son and he is to name Him Jesus because he is the one to save His people (Matthew 1:21).
Therefore, Jesus cannot but save. This is what He does. In today’s readings, we will take time to go through the readings analytically, discussing the readings and bringing out the lessons.
Jesus Is Always Willing.
The gospel says that returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus decides to go by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. It is there that they brought the man who was deaf and had a speech impediment.
This gospel did not mention whether this miracle happened in a temple, synagogue, house or along the way. But from the way Mark states this event, there is a possibility that this miracle happened when Jesus was still on His way to Sidon
Therefore, there is a possibility that the people saw Jesus walking along the way and they brought the man to Him. Jesus was not bothered. He immediately attends to them. This is Jesus for you. He is willing to answer our prayers. He is always willing to save us.
The only effort that these people made today was to come to Him. Therefore, the only effort we have to make is to remain close and come to Jesus often.
By coming close to Him today, the people show that they trust Jesus to do what they are asking for.
Therefore, it is not only coming to Jesus but trusting that He can be able to do what we ask for.
The problem today is that we no longer have trust in God. Faith is going down. Millions of people are ready to abandon God to seek a solution elsewhere once they feel God is not giving them what they want. Even before we come in His presence, we tend to believe that we are wasting our time.
Many of us see prayers as a waste of time. Some also conclude that God has compiled their sins and because of that, He would not answer their prayers.
We have to know the personality of Jesus. Jesus is always willing to save. He does all things well.
Isaiah in The first reading which is one of the messianic prophecies affirms this when he says “Say to all faint hearts, Courage! Do not be afraid. Look, your God is coming, vengeance is coming, the retribution of God; he is coming to save you”.
Therefore, His coming is to save.
We have to Know This.
When the people bring to Jesus a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they ask him to lay his hand on him. What does Jesus do? He acts the way He wants.
Some translations said that they begged Jesus to lay hands. The request is to lay hands. Then instead of laying hands, answering their request according to the way they want, Jesus puts his fingers into the man’s ears and touches his tongue with spittle.
Therefore, we have to know that it is not a must that God would answer our requests to Him the way we want it to happen. He has the final say. He determines how He can answer the prayers. Jesus does all things well, whether it goes the way we want or not.
Sometimes what we call unanswered prayers may not be unanswered prayers but answered prayers. For example, You pray that God gives a wealthy husband. But instead of giving you one, He gives you a humble and caring husband, so that both of you would work together to raise your family in peace. Hence, because it did not come the way you asked, you become sad and lose hope.
The people that brought the man to Jesus would have reminded Jesus to lay hands on the man at that time Jesus was touching His ears. But they simply paid attention to Jesus and trusted the process.
They know that whichever way Jesus takes, He does all things well. And Jesus does not disappoint. So, our function is to pray and God determines how He would answer.
He is For All.
When you speak with many of us, you will come to understand that many of us have concluded that God has abandoned them. Many of us see ourselves as unlucky.
We have to note that Jesus does all things well for all and sundry. In today’s gospel, Mark says that Jesus was returning from the district of Tyre, Then He went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, through the Decapolis region. It was at this place that the people brought the man that was deaf.
The geographic references show that Jesus journeys north from Tyre through Sidon and then apparently through the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee and into the territory of the Decapolis.
The Decapolis as we know means the territory of the ten Greek cities. The Decapolis is territory largely occupied by gentiles, though only a few jews are living there.
Therefore, there is a possibility that the man he cured today was a gentile and not a jew. Despite this, Jesus was able to deliver him without minding who he is, where he comes from, his status etc.
Therefore He teaches us today to treat people well despite their status. This is why the second reading is asking us not to make distinctions when we are dealing with people. Always treat people right.
Secondly, This shows that Jesus is for all and ever willing. God does not hate you.
The gospel says that the man the people brought to Jesus was “deaf and could hardly talk”. Therefore, what He had was an impediment in his speech.
The gospel says that Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the 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 the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly”
Before the man met Jesus, He was deaf, hard to talk clearly, but after Jesus touched him, He began to hear and speak clearly.
Also, before, they come to Jesus begging and crying for healing but after the encounter, there was a joyful moment.
Before they met Jesus today, the man was brought by the people but after the gospel today, one can easily conclude that he must have gone by Himself.
Therefore, meeting Jesus today was not only an avenue for healing but as an avenue for change.
Therefore if we truly need to be transformed, if we sincerely need healing, change and joy again, we need Jesus. Jesus does all things well. When we encounter Jesus our lives must change.
We can also talk about deafness in a spiritual sense. Deaf is someone who is unable to hear. There is nothing you would do to make Him listen.
Therefore, spiritual deafness is when we do not listen to the word. This is when we pay deaf ears to repentance, holiness, the word of God and when we harden our hearts to Jesus.
Therefore when we suffer spiritual deafness, what we need is an encounter again with Jesus. Jesus does all things well. Jesus is willing to forgive us our sins. He can bring us back to life again.
He can make us well again. We can encounter Him in the sacrament of reconciliation, in the word and in the Eucharist. When we open our hearts to Him and decide to go back to Him, our spiritual lives will definitely change.
The Source of Our Spiritual Strength.
There are times when we become weak in prayer. There are moments when we meet challenges and it looks as if God is far. We all have different things that we face every day in our spiritual journey. Today, Jesus shows us the source of spiritual strengths in moments like this.
In the gospel, people brought a man who was weak, almost lost hope in life, and challenged by physical ailments. When Jesus took him aside, He touched Him and then Jesus looked up to heaven and made a deep sigh.
Looking up to heaven is a significant sign in this gospel that many of us overlook. Jesus could have pronounced words immediately, or tell the man to go that he would be well as he normally does.
This time He looks up to heaven and makes a deep sigh. Perhaps showing us that when we enter in situations like this, we have to pray and look on to God, never lose hope.
In Romans 8:26, Paul says that In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Therefore the deep sigh can be interpreted as an attitude of prayer.
Jesus is telling us that when we face situations like this and it looks as if all hope is lost, We have to pray hard. In essence, God should be our strength and the source of our power.
Even when we cannot trust anybody, we have to trust God to see us through. In the first reading, Isaiah was telling the people that their God is coming. Therefore, His coming will bring healing for the lame, blind and the deaf and streams in the wasteland which signifies prosperity.
In essence, we do not have to lose faith in moments of crisis. Rather, we have to seek God with all our hearts when we face such kinds of situations.
When people accuse you of something that you are innocent of, seek God. When you feel all hope is lost, seek God with all your heart.
Jesus looking up to heaven has a very powerful meaning to us. It means Heaven should be your focus in moments like this. Therefore, never underrate the power of prayer in times of crisis. Jesus does all things well.
We Need the Ephphatha Moment.
When you observe the healing today, you will discover that the healing proper happened after the Ephphatha moment. Jesus touched the man but immediately He said “Ephphatha” that is, ‘Be opened, the ears of the man opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.
The ephphatha was a simple prayer but very powerful. It is just one word but it carries great power.
The ephphatha was powerful because it came from a powerful source. The word that Jesus speaks can change and transform even the most hardened hearts.
The word of God can bring healing to us again. At moments of sorrow and hopelessness, we need the word.
The ephphatha moment is that moment we allow God to talk to us. It is the moment He speaks to our situations.
The Centurion knows this, that is why He tells Jesus to say only the word (Matthew 8:5:13). Peter knows this, that is why He requests that Jesus speaks so that He can walk on water (Matthew 14:22-23),
The Blessed Virgin Mary understands this, that is why she tells the servants at Cana “do whatever He tells you (John 2:5).
At the mountain of transfiguration, God the Father revealed this to us when He said to us “this is my beloved son listen to Him ( Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35).
But guess what, we harden our hearts. We do not follow God’s direction rather we follow our direction. We do not even have time to have a conversation with God. In essence, we detested the ephphatha moment.
When Jesus speaks, things change, everything comes to be.
The moment of Ephpahtha was like the moment of creation when God Speaks to the earth that was chaos and formless.
When God speaks, creation happens. Therefore, to experience a recreation or a new creation in our lives and situations, we have to allow God to speak to our hearts.
We have to listen to His word and we have to obey and follow His word. We need an Ephphatha moment because Jesus does all things well.
Be Willing to Save.
Everything that we see in today’s encounter is nothing but an encounter with someone who is willing to save. Jesus is always willing to help. Today also shows how compassionate and loving He is. He is ready to heal us, forgive us and make us well again. Jesus does all things well.
Therefore, like Jesus let us also be willing to save. Let us be willing to help those in need. Let us be willing to be a light to others. In every Christian, there should be this inner hunger to save souls.
Just like Jesus is ready to welcome and listen to anyone who comes to Him. Let us be willing to listen to the poor, the sick, the needy and the oppressed.
Secondly, just like the people brought the man to Jesus. Let us be instruments of salvation to others. This man wouldn’t have been healed if not through the people that brought him to Jesus.
Therefore, We can be a light to others. When you see your brother going the wrong way, be the hand that brings him back to life. When you see your brother depressed and forlorn be the hand that encourages Him.
If your family is in crisis be the light that would bring them together. If you are having problems with your husband, be the hand that will mend your broken homes. Let us always be willing to save like Jesus.
1. Always believe in this statement that Jesus does all things well. Whatever He begins, He will see to the finish point. Believe in this statement with your whole heart. One thing about faith is that whatever you believe happens to you (Matthew 8:13).
The secret about this is that it will keep you going even in moments of crisis and difficulties. When you strongly accept that whether good or bad, that Jesus does all things well, there is this kind of strong belief that you would have even when things are not going the way you expect.
So, believing in this, will not make you stop trying but keep pushing. This is because, deep in your heart, you know that God is in control of everything. So, Jesus should be in charge of all we do because He does all things well. However He decides, it is always well.
2. Before we conclude, another group of people we have to thank today are those people that brought the man to Jesus. They really did well. To bring the man to Jesus shows a group of people who have concern for their brother.
It shows groups of people who are eager to see that the man enjoys healing again. These people should be our lesson today also.
If it would be in our time, many of us will not even have time for the man and not to talk of bringing him to Jesus. So many would be happy to see Him suffer in his condition.
Some would be busy snapping pictures and videos to put on social media when the person is dying when what they need to do is to take him to the hospital.
If it would be in our time, many would even lie to the man that Jesus cannot heal him. Therefore, we enjoy seeing others suffer. We enjoy it when others fail.
Many of us are not happy when we hear that someone is doing well but when they hear that something happened to Him, they feel happy. Today, instead of helping others, we rejoice in the suffering s of the people.
Like these people, let us have concern and sincere love for one another. This is not when we laugh in the face of people but kill them behind their back.
If every Christian could do what these people did today, there would be heaven on earth. Rather we rejoice in killing people’s names, gossiping, and praying that others fail.
If they fail, what can you gain from it? but if they succeed, you may in one way or another reap from it. A man who decides that others won’t see light is also affecting himself also.
He never knows what the person he is fighting can bring in his life tomorrow. Let us be careful, tomorrow is always pregnant.
3. When Jesus wanted to heal the man, He took him away from the crowd. Therefore, Jesus separates Him from the crowd to have personal and intimate contact with Him. In essence, Jesus desires to have a personal and intimate conversion and contact with us every time.
In times of suffering and challenges, Jesus desires to have personal communion with us and talk to us.
To do this, we have to come out of the crowd. Therefore we do not have to live the way others are living. Do not follow the crowd.
Do not live or do something because others are doing it or because this is what is trending. The wave of modernity is leading people astray.
Therefore, to encounter change and experience healing, we need that personal contact with the Lord. We need time with the Lord. We can do this by creating private time in prayer and visitation to the Blessed Sacrament.
When we do this, our lives will begin to change. Then the question is “when was the last time we had a personal visit to the Lord? When was the last time we prayed? When was the last time we opened our bible? Sometimes we do not have time for God.
4. Being unable to hear and speak is a crippling handicap. But worse than this is the spiritual deafness and dumbness.
This is the inability or the unwillingness to hear the word of God and to respond to it. We need Jesus again. Jesus does all things well.
We need Him to restore our lost glory and open our hearts to the word of God. We become spiritually deaf when we close our hearts to Him.
4b. Even the refusal to help our neighbours are also involved in this. Jesus was willing to remove the deafness but sometimes we are happy to become deaf to the pleas of other people.
Sometimes, we fail to show compassion and love to others. We rather exhibit acts of hatred and wickedness. Therefore, as Jesus shows acts of compassion, let us be compassionate to the plights of people.
5. Finally, Jesus would have laid hands on this man and the case closed. To even speak to the man would have been enough without touching Him.
But Jesus uses some external signs especially by touching the affected areas. Therefore, Jesus is performing the role of a medical doctor here, who touches patients to diagnose their conditions.
Therefore, what Jesus is telling us is that in terms of these, He is the doctor of healing, the doctor of impossible cases, the general physician who knows the cause of every illness and how to save us from it. Jesus alone can save us from the spiritual ailment.
He has the power to save us from sin. He has the power to save us from every problem.
Therefore, let us put our strong faith in Him. Never lose hope in God. Jesus does all things well. Keep on, always know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
May God bless and protect you. May Your week be blessed. Amen.