Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 35:4-7 Psalm 146:7-10; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37)
Being Healed by Christ in Spirit, Mind, and Body
“Be opened!” (Mark 7:34)
Scripture tells us that Jesus performed countless healings during his public ministry. So we may wonder why some healing stories are preserved in the Bible, while others aren’t. Think, for example, about all the blind people Jesus must have healed—what was so special about Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)?
Today’s Gospel reading is different, however. This is one of those rare stories where Jesus did something other than just touch someone and speak a word of command in order to heal. This time, he took the man away from the crowds, placed his fingers in the man’s ears, spat on his tongue, and groaned from deep within his heart.
Why would Jesus do all of this? Is it possible that in addition to healing the man’s ears he was also performing an inner healing? Maybe when he groaned, “Ephphatha,” which is Aramaic for, “Be opened,” he was talking about the man’s heart. Maybe he removed him from the crowd so that there would be no distraction. Maybe he was healing the man’s spiritual deafness as well as his physical deafness.
This story tells us that Jesus wants to open our ears and our hearts. So give him the chance to do this for you! Let him take you away from the crowd of everyday life. Put aside the demands of your life for just a few minutes each day so that you can hear him speak words of love and promise to you. Let his voice melt any fears, anxieties, or doubts in your heart.
Right now, this very moment, imagine yourself alone with the Lord in a quiet place. Look at the expression on his face, the love in his eyes. He wants to say, “Be opened” to the deepest part of your being. So come to him in the silence that comes from trust and hope. Know that he is with you. Let him speak his words of life to you.
“Lord, silence the noise of the world so that I can hear you. Jesus, I need you to open my heart today.”
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, Isaiah offers prophetic words of encouragement to the people of Israel. In what ways have you received encouragement from God in a time of trial as you prayed or read Scripture.
- The Responsorial Psalm speaks of God’s great love and care for the needy, in particular, those who are oppressed, hungry, captive, blind, bowed down, fatherless, and widows. In what ways has Jesus Christ fulfilled this Psalm (and the first reading as well)? What are some things you can do to better reflect God’s love and care to the needy.
- In the second reading, we are told to show no partiality, especially between the rich and the poor. Why do you think this is important to God? Why should it be important to us as Christians?
- In the Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man with a speech impediment. In what ways are healings of Jesus the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah and signs of his divine nature? (Hint: see 2. above.) Do you believe that our prayers can be instruments of healing, and a reflection of Jesus’ compassion, in the lives of the sick? Share a time when your prayers for healing were answered. What keeps you from praying more often for others for healing?
- Reflecting on the healing of the deaf and mute in the Gospel reading, the meditation also reminds us that, “This story tells us that Jesus wants to open our ears and our hearts. So give him the chance to do this for you!” Jesus has promised that whoever asks with faith will receive (Mark 11:24). At Mass, and in your times of prayer, are you willing to ask Jesus to open your ears to hear him; to open your eyes to see him; to clear your speech of all impediments to declaring his goodness; and to restore you—spirit, mind, and body—to the life he has always intended for you? If not, why not?
- Take some time now to pray and ask Jesus for eyes to see him, ears to hear him, and a heart and mind open to all he desires to do in and through your life. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.