Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Kings 11:29-32.12:19; Mark 7:31-37)
The prophet Isaiah tells of Israel’s deliverance from bondage. He mentions a sign: the ears of the deaf will be opened and the tongue of the dumb will sing (Isaiah 35:5-6). The prophecy is being filled in today’s gospel. Jesus breaks the barrier that is preventing the deaf man from hearing. Similarly, Jesus’ spitting on the man’s tongue frees it to speak clearly.
But the people react only with astonishment. They cannot make the realization that Jesus is God’s anointed one. Perhaps if he had a band of warriors to accompany him, they would make the connection. It is how we react when an especially clever magician brings a series of rabbits from an old top hat. We just ask, “How did he do that?” Of course, the magician is performing a sleight of hand. But Jesus has really come to free us from our ways of acting poorly.
Jesus is here to help us in every situation. He generally chooses not to overpower what is causing us difficulty. More often he strengthens us to find peace in doing the will of the Father. We should not be timid in asking his assistance. Coming to mass early to recall our intentions for him puts our focus on where it belongs most. We need never doubt Jesus’ desire to strengthen us.