TWENTY THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
One of the beautiful things about Gospel stories is that it allows us to see the humanity of Christ and how He engages people who are in trouble and challenged. This is exemplified in the Gospel story of this 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Times (Mark 7:31-37) where we see, how the heart of Jesus played out in the midst of human need. In this story, the people brought a man who was deaf and dumb to Jesus and begged Him to heal him. I was struck by how Jesus took this man away from the crowd for a one-on-one encounter with Him. This man was not going to be a sideshow. No! Jesus was going to make this man feel like he was the only person on the planet—so personal. It is amazing how this contrasts with the way we deal with people with disabilities. It is amazing how much respect the Lord accords to each and every one of us who come to Him for rescue. He sees the need, yes, but he also sees the human being. He does not see a disability— a problem—he sees a person.
In healing this man, Jesus puts His fingers into the man’s ears and spat and touched his tongue, thereby dealing with his specific needs. This man didn’t need his eyes to be opened, or his legs to be made strong, or some kind of healing from leprosy. This man was deaf and dumb; what he needed was a touch on his ears and tongue, and that was what he got; a personal touch tailored to his needs. The touch of Jesus is not one size fits all; it is tailored to individual needs. This is how the Lord deals with us! He knows every need of our heart and His touch is laser-focused on those needs. Jesus knows exactly where we are and what we need. He has the power to calm seas, open blinded eyes and deaf ears, heal leprosy, cast out demons, raise the dead, multiply loaves, transform a life of sin and reconcile us unto God, etc. As Scripture says, “For nothing shall be impossible for God”. We will never have a need that is beyond God’s ability to meet.
Before Christ spoke healing into this man, He sighed. His sigh was a way of identifying with the pain, the sorrow, and the struggle this man had gone through. This is Emotional Intelligence at its best—empathic identification with tender attention. When we make Jesus Christ our personal Lord and Savior, we are never alone again. He will always stand before us, with knowledge of everything about us, including our pains and sorrows, joys and tribulations. He will never be indifferent or unfeeling but rather, sighs and feels our pain before bringing healing, joy, and peace. So, no matter what is going on in your life right now, whatever you may be facing a this moment, no matter what the struggle is, bring it to Jesus. Scripture says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but one who has been through it all but did not fall. Let us, therefore, come with confidence before the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace for needed help” (Hebrews 4:15-16). We must always guard against the spirit of unbelief that says, “God doesn’t know or that He doesn’t care, or that He doesn’t see me.” My dear friends, Christ knows, He sees, and He cares. As Scripture says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw nearer to you.”
Above all, we should never be silent about what the Lord has done in our lives. Scripture says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so”. Notice that the people couldn’t keep quiet about this marvelous work of the Lord even though Christ had instructed them not to talk about it. The deeds of the Lord must always be proclaimed. The more we count our blessings, the more we can see what the Lord has done in our lives. May the good Lord touch each and every one of us in all the places, in our lives, that need healing, Amen!