Sunday, September 06, 2009

The healing of a deaf man

Source Link - The healing of a deaf man

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to Him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged Him to lay His hand on him. He took him off by Himself away from the crowd. He put His finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then He looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more He ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Profess faith openly

Mark’s account of the healing of a deaf man occurs after the narrative of the Syrophoenician woman’s faith (7:24-30) and before the feeding of the four thousand (8:1-10). The story is located in Gentile territory so that Mark can continue to validate the ministry of the Church to the Gentiles by portraying Jesus’ ministry to them. The narrative is set within the form of a miracle. The issue of the inclusion of the Gentiles into the early Church is the focus, however like the Gentiles, the man is both deaf and dumb towards God. Once the good news is proclaimed to him, however, his ears are opened to the word and his tongue is loosed to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

Underlying Mark’s theological perspective is the prophet Isaiah: “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared” (Is 35:4-5). For Mark, the age of the Messiah and salvation has arrived for the Gentiles.

Through the prophet Ezekiel God declared that on the day of the Lord, Ezekiel’s mouth would be opened and he would be dumb no longer (cf Ez 24:27). “Be opened!” Jesus declares in this passage from Mark. The day of the Lord has arrived.

It is little wonder why the Ephphatha rite is a part of the rite of Christian initiation of adults and the rite of baptism for children. The presider touches the ears and lips of the candidates and declares, “Ephphatha: that is, be opened, that you may profess the faith you hear, to the praise and glory of God” (RCIA, n 199).

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph