Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man who had a speech impediment.
Mark tells us that he took him “off by himself away from the crowd.” Jesus then “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!’).” Looking up to his Father and inserting his fingers into the man’s ears, Jesus establishes, as it were, an electrical current, literally plugging him into the divine energy, compelling him to hear the Word.
Now for the healing’s spiritual significance. The crowd is a large part of the problem. The raucous voices of so many, the insistent bray of the advertising culture, the confusing Babel of competing spiritualities—all of it makes us deaf to God’s word. And therefore, we have to be moved to a place of silence and communion.
Jesus draws us into his space, the space of the Church. There, away from the crowd, we can immerse ourselves in the rhythm of the liturgy, listen avidly to Scripture, study the theological tradition, watch the moves of holy people, take in the beauty of sacred art and architecture. There we can hear.