One of the basic principles of reading the Bible is keeping in mind that it is written for us and about us. When God blesses Abraham, He blesses us. We are the people whom God freed from the slavery. The prophet and the disciple whom God calls are each one of us.
So, the deaf and mute man, in coming Sunday’s Gospel reading (Mark 7:31-37), stands for all of us who do not hear the word of God, who have grown oblivious to it. And what is the result of this deafness? A speech impediment. At the spiritual level, if you don’t hear the Word of God clearly, then your capacity to speak it is also severely compromised.
If we were to choose between losing sight and losing our hearing, the majority of us would prefer to be deaf rather than blind. Yet psychological studies show that the suffering of the deaf exceeds that of the blind, because of his or her greater isolation, unable to participate in interpersonal exchanges, which are essentially through speech.
Alas, this is the sad situation of our humanity: spiritually deaf and blind, we retreat into our empty interiority, immured in our solitude, unable to communicate truly, either with God or with others.
The Good News is that our Lord wants to heal us of our deafness and open our ears to His Word. He wants to heal our muteness, so that we do not remain silent, but converse with Him and proclaim His Word in the power of the Spirit.
But in order that He may accomplish this miracle in us, we must consent to follow Him, away from the crowd, away from the sounds of this world, to meet Him in the prayer and hear His mighty voice “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”