It sometimes happens during the celebration of Mass that a young child begins to cry out. Glancing quickly and discreetly in the direction of the sound I’d spot the culprit, a two-year-old with well-developing vocal chords. More often than not the kid is on the pew between its parents, either in a portable baby carrier or just fidgeting and holding on. The child’s entreaties continue until Mom or Dad takes it up, holds it close and rubs its back. Then all is quiet again.
Held in a loving embrace, the child feels secure and restlessness disappears. Parents know how to care for their children. To be touched and held in the embrace of another person is to experience reassurance and support. God’s caring touch comes to us through our senses and can leave us with an incredible sense of peace and re-assurance, wonder and awe.
We are told in this Sunday’s Gospel how Jesus healed a person’s deafness by touching his ears and his stammer by applying saliva to his tongue. In a real sense the scene is symbolic of our own spiritual deafness and difficulty in expressing our faith. How often has the word of God gone in one ear and out the other? How often have we stalled in sharing our faith with others? If we only realised it, our deepest need is to be vulnerable to the voice of God, to the truth that is life and sets us free.
Jesus moved the man away from the crowd before uttering the divine imperative “Be opened.” God’s word needs a bit of solitude and silence in order to be heard deeply. When he heard the word spoken by Jesus, the man’s speech impediment dissolved and he began to speak “plainly.” His speech flowed from the breath of God within him and made faith-sense to the by-standers. No wonder they felt compelled to share their experience of Jesus.
“Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ,” – Rom 10:17
Fr. QQ. 9/7/18