Friday, February 13 ~ Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: 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.”
Meditation: No problem or burden was ever 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 kind. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us enables us to love as Jesus loves. Pope Saint Gregory the Great commented 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.”
Prayer: Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Jesus never turned anyone aside who approached him with sincerity and trust. He demonstrated both the beauty and goodness of God in his actions. When Jesus approaches a man who is both deaf and who stutters, Jesus shows his compassion by taking him aside privately. 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 this 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. How do you expect the Lord to treat you, when you ask for his help? Do you approach him cynically and with doubt, or with awe, wonder, faith and confidence? Perhaps some relationship building would be useful during Lent? Something to think about and act upon – Lent begins in five days, folks!
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of the Catholic Culture web site.