Too many of us have lost our ability to marvel.
We get busy, we get practical, we narrow our focus to what has to be done.
Before long, practicality gives way to cynicism. Some of this takes place
naturally as we grow out of childhood. Some of it is a result of too much
education. Like the child who sees through the magician’s trick and is then
disappointed and disillusioned, we become too accustomed to explaining away
what might seem miraculous with very practical explanations.
today have become so accustomed to special effects in movies that they assume
that most things have some sort of technological foundation. They don’t even
realize that those very technologies should be the stuff of wonder and
amazement, at least for a little while. The fact that we can watch movies on a
device that fits in the palm of one hand was unthinkable even fifty years ago.
today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man suffering the loss of both hearing and speech.
Many of the miracles recorded in the Gospels involve a restoration of sight or
hearing. In fact, according to the prophets, these are two signs of the messianic
age. Isaiah proclaims in the first reading that when God brings salvation to
the people, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be
cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”
So it’s no wonder that the people of Jesus’s day recognized in his actions the
fulfillment of this great promise.
We’ve largely consigned healing to the
medical profession. We rarely connect it with faith or miracles. This isn’t all
bad. Advances in medicine and technology since the first century have made it
possible for countless people to regain sight, hearing, and mobility. But it
would be a mistake to lose the connection to the God who still moves through
the wonders of modern medicine. The divine hand might not be as direct as it
was when Jesus was putting his fingers into the deaf man’s ears, but make no
mistake: It’s still there in the hands of the doctors and nurses.
the people not to talk about his healing of the man in today’s Gospel. We might
take this to mean that we’re not supposed to talk about our religious
experiences. Nothing could be further from the truth. But Jesus wants them to
understand the whole picture. He wants them to appreciate that the wonder is
not necessarily in the physical healing, as though it were some kind of magic trick,
but rather in the fullness of who Jesus is.
One thing that hasn’t changed since
the time of Jesus: Too often we still leave the proclamation of the Good News
to the religious professionals. In doing so, we lose some of the wonder of a
direct experience of God’s hand moving in our own lives and in the lives of
those we touch. Whether we reflect on the natural miracle of the physical
senses or on the deeper significance of being able to hear and proclaim the
word of God, today’s Gospel reminds us that God wants us to be able to live our
lives to the fullest extent possible.
The Incarnation set in motion a return to
this fullness, the original blessing of creation. More than anything else,
today’s readings encourage us to let ourselves be amazed at the wonder that
surrounds us each and every day.