Off-Track Healing (Twenty-third Ordinary)

Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, “Ephphatha! – Open up!” and it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech plain – just like that. Jesus urged them to keep

it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, besides themselves with excitement. “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless”. (Mark 7: 34 – 37)

Jesus cured the deaf man with the speech impediment in today’s gospel by poking him in the ear and spitting in his mouth. Oddly enough that was the common method of treatment among the healers of Jesus’ time. So what made Jesus different? Why was he thrilling the masses like no other healer before or since? I chalk it up to one simple gesture: Jesus took the deaf man “off by himself away from the crowd”.

You see, Jesus wasn’t looking for glory or recognition in his ministry. What he wanted was whole and well people. He knew the best way to accomplish that was to keep himself and the sick person focussed on the healing and undistracted by the crowd. And by protecting his patient from the embarrassment of peering eyes, Jesus showed a profound respect for the deaf man, which no doubt played a part in the cure.

Think of the times you’ve been pulled aside by a parent, friend, boss, or mentor and been called to task or given some advice. How much better did you hear the words being spoken during those times than when someone tried to set you straight in front of roomful of people?

Next time you feel someone is turning a deaf ear on you, follow Jesus’ lead and use respect, not shame,  to remedy the situation.