February 12, 2021 – Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021221.cfm)
Jesus went to a gentile district, a place of disgust for the Jews because they were considered unclean and undesirable people. Yet, the presence of Jesus in that undesirable place tells us now how God will work wonders to those who are troubled, to those who are struggling in life, who are rejected and abandoned, those who are taken for granted, the lonely and the oppressed. The story was more meaningful at the presence of the deaf man. At that time, when a person is sick, it was believed that he/she is a sinner and has been punished by God. Sickness is equivalent to God’s punishment because of sin. Thus, the person is undesirable and not to be touched for fear of contamination.
But let us also pay attention at how this man was brought to Jesus. The deaf man did not go to Jesus all by himself. He could not speak for himself. The deaf man was actually brought by his friends who interceded in behalf of him.
Thus, the response of Jesus was surprising for the Jews. Jesus took away the man by himself and put his finger into the man’s ears with his spittle and touching also his tongue. The action of Jesus seemed to de disgusting but for the deaf man, it was a personal encounter with the Lord.
What draws us deeper into the Gospel is the invitation of Jesus to the deaf man, Jesus said, “Ephphatha! – which means, be opened!” It was at that moment that the man was transformed. The deaf man began to hear and speak clearly.
Jesus pays attention especially to us who are troubled and lonely, rejected, sick and undesirable for others. Jesus desires us and wants us. We too are reminded to allow ourselves to be helped by our friends just like the deaf man who was brought to Jesus. Or, we can also be the friend who will bring a person closer to Jesus.
The deaf man too, is symbolically, each one of us. We are the deaf man in the story. We are the undesirable, the sick, the lonely and the brokenhearted. We are the man who pretended to be deaf, who does not want to hear God’s message of love and mercy. Yet, the church brings us closer to God, to be healed and to be opened.
We may ask ourselves now, what is preventing my ears and heart in listening to the word of God, to Jesus’ invitation today? What has stiffened my tongue so that I may respond with honesty, in faith and in love?
Jesus wants us to be opened – to be opened to the many wonders of God, to his mysteries, to his forgiveness and unconditional love. In return, Jesus also wants us to become open in loving others even those who are unlovable. Jesus also wants us to open our eyes and ears so that we may be able to recognize the needs around us and that we may be able to respond. Jesus wants us to open our mouth to sing our praises to Him, to speak of the injustices today, and to share his message of mercy. Hinaut pa.