February 14, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

Mark 7:31-37

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):

     How do you expect the Lord to treat you, when you ask for His help? Do you approach with fear and doubt, or with faith and confidence? Jesus never turned anyone aside who approached Him with sincerity and trust. And whatever Jesus did, He did well. He demonstrated both the beauty and goodness of God in his actions. When Jesus approaches a man who is both deaf and a stutterer, Jesus shows His compassion for the man’s predicament. Jesus takes him aside privately, not doubting to remove him from embarrassment with a noisy crowd of unbelievers. Jesus then puts His fingers into the deaf man’s ears and he touches the man’s tongue with His own spittle to physically identify with the man’s infirmity and to awaken faith in him. With a word of command the poor man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

     What is the significance of Jesus putting his fingers into the man’s ears? Gregory the Great, a church father from the 6th century, comments on this miracle: “The Spirit is called the finger of God. When the Lord puts His fingers into the ears of the deaf mute, He was opening the soul of man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

     The people’s response to this miracle testifies to Jesus’ great care for others: He has done all things well. No problem or burden was too much for Jesus’ careful consideration. The Lord treats each of us with kindness and compassion and He calls us to treat one another in like manner. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us enables us to love as Jesus loves. Do you show kindness and compassion to your neighbors and do you treat them with considerateness as Jesus did?

     Incidentally, today the whole world celebrates the “Hearts Day” or more popularly known as “Valentine’s Day”.  May Jesus fill us with the Holy Spirit and inflame our hearts with love and compassion. Make us attentive to the needs of others that we may show them kindness and care. Make us instruments of His mercy and peace that we may help others find healing and wholeness in Him.

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