OPEN OURSELVES TO JESUS
The scene is well-known. They bring a deaf man to Jesus, and because of his deafness, he can hardly talk. His life is a disgrace. He only hears himself. He can’t listen to his family and neighbors. He can’t converse with his friends. He can never hear Jesus’ parables or understand his message. He lives enclosed in his own loneliness.
Jesus takes him with him and concentrates on his healing work. He puts his fingers in his ears and tries to conquer that resistance that won’t let him hear anyone. With his saliva he moistens that tongue that’s paralyzed in order to give fluidity to his word. It’s not easy. The deaf-mute doesn’t collaborate, and Jesus makes the final effort. He breathes deeply, calls out a great groan looking to the heavens, seeking the power of God, and then he shouts to the sick man: «Be opened!».
That man leaves behind his isolation and for the first time discovers what it is to go about listening to others and conversing openly with everyone. The people are in admiration: Jesus does everything well, just like the Creator, «he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak».
It’s not just by chance that the Gospels tell about so many healings of the blind and the deaf. These stories are an invitation to let Jesus work to open well the eyes and the ears to his person and his word. Some disciples who are «deaf» to his message will be like the deaf-mute when it comes to announcing the Gospel.
To live within the Church with an «open» or a «closed» mentality can be a question of mental attitude or practical position, almost always a fruit of one’s own psychological structure or background of formation. But when it comes to «be opened» or «be closed» to the Gospel, the matter is of decisive importance.
If we go about deaf to Jesus’ message, if we don’t understand his project, if we don’t grasp his love for those who suffer, we will close ourselves into our own problems and we won’t listen to those of the people. But then we won’t know how to announce the Good News of Jesus. We will deform his message. For many it will be difficult to understand our «Gospel». Don’t we need to open ourselves to Jesus in order to let ourselves be healed of our deafness?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf