By Julia Callahan
In this reading, Jesus gives a man who cannot hear or speak the ability to do so. Jesus takes a man who at this point in time is often cast out of society for being “different” or “unable” and sees the value in him despite social stigmas, understanding that he too is created in God’s image. After Jesus allows the man to be “opened,” those who witnessed the results are amazed and spread the news.
I find some comfort in this reading. I am reminded of Jesus’s power and desire to help those who seek him–even those who feel that they are incurable. For me personally, it is easy to feel like I’m not doing enough to deepen my faith. I could definitely make the effort to spend more time with God, to trust in His plan, and to deliberately seek His counsel, but this is easier said than done.
When I feel like I need to open my ears to God and speak of His goodness, I often go to visible spaces to try to rekindle my faith, like going to Mass, or by leaning on other people for support. While groups and communities can certainly help me find a sense of peace, this reading challenges me and suggests that sometimes what is really needed is time alone with God. For instance, in this particular reading, Jesus took the man away from the crowd and into a more private space to work the miracles. I say “work” miracles instead of the commonly used “perform” miracles because Jesus didn’t need an audience. This makes me think that I too can “be opened” by God by spending time alone with Him without the presence of an “audience.” We all can benefit from forming a personal relationship with Christ away from the crowds. This reading is commissioning us to change for Christ by allowing ourselves to be opened in the privacy of our own soul.