Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
In the Gospel today Jesus reveals his divine power by miraculously opening the ears of the deaf man and granting speech to his tongue. The entire exchange appears to happen in a brief moment; nevertheless, the sequential steps of the encounter reveal a certain method behind the miracle. First, Jesus takes the man aside. Then the Lord puts his finger into the man’s ears. Only then with a little spit does he touch the man’s tongue. Similarly, when the passage recounts the miraculous effects of the encounter with Jesus, the narrative first mentions that the man’s ears were opened, and then it proceeds to describe how the speech impediment was removed. In this way, after taking some time alone with the man, Jesus decides to grant hearing first and then give the capacity for speech.
Even though these miraculous encounters with Jesus recount a historical fact performed long ago, God also uses them to communicate a spiritual reality to us today as well. And so, when Jesus places his finger into the man’s ears before touching his tongue, he reminds us of the priority of listening in the spiritual life. To be sure, speaking the wonders of God in Jesus Christ are integral to the Christian life; nevertheless, before we can proclaim the word of God, we must have the ears of our hearts opened to hear what Christ Jesus is saying to us. In order to facilitate this listening, Christ Jesus invites us aside from the crowds and busyness of life to spend time alone with him in prayer. With a deliberate space carved out and dedicated specifically for that daily encounter with the Lord in prayer, God will open the ears of our heart, just as he opened the ears of deaf man in the Gospel. Only then, when we are rooted and grounded in this disposition of listening, will our tongues be touched so that we can fittingly proclaim the wonders of God’s love and grace.