Community of Tampa | St. Pete | Florida

Ears to Hear

“He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Mk 7:37

Today’s Gospel is about a deaf man who for many years was deaf. It says that the deaf man who had an impediment in his speech was brought to Christ and those who brought him to Christ begged him to lay his hand on him. The Gospel proclaims that, Christ took this deaf man aside and put his fingers into this deaf man’s years and looking up to heaven, sighed and said to him, “Be opened.” Then, immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released and he spoke plainly and those who witnessed this miracle were astounded beyond measure. They said, “He has done everything well, he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

In today’s Gospel, we read that people brought the deaf man to Christ without even letting him know about this deaf man. The beauty is the fact that those people knew that Christ would heal him. What Christ did is not only a physical healing but spiritual as well. Christ not only opened the deaf man’s physical ears and released his tongue but also, He opened up the deaf man’s spiritual ears and wishes to do the same with us today. The Gospel says that, people witnessed this miracle and were astounded. No one can witness a miracle without having spiritual eyes. The deaf man was healed both physically and spiritually. Which kind of healing do we then seek from God?

The healing of the deaf man is my healing and your healing as well, because as we say in the confession, “I was called to the profession of Christianity but was found unworthy of it by my deeds.” And since I was found unworthy by my deeds as a spiritually deaf person, today I want to be healed with the deaf man. Even though, during my baptism the priest anointed my ears saying, “This holy anointment be unto you for the hearing of divine commandments,” I again failed to hear the divine commandments and fell many times. Therefore, with the deaf and mute man of today’s Gospel, I want to be healed spiritually. Even though, many times I heard Christ’s words, “Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15) but again many times I failed to hear God’s words. Today, with the deaf man I ask God to open my ears and enable my mouth and ears to serve Him.

Why did Christ open the deaf man’s ears? The deaf man was willing to be healed and to serve God the rest of his life. And so, today I ask myself, am I willing to be healed? Do I want to serve God with all my heart? Am I willing to dig deeper into my heart and confess all my sins to God?  As Saint Gregory of Narek says, “By your will, Almighty, may the ears of my stubborn heart be opened to the sound of life. By this tiding of your magnificent good works, may the ears of the deaf hear.” (Saint Gregory of Narek, Prayer 92) Saint Gregory was willing to be healed and for that reason, he considered himself a deaf man and asked God to open his ears and enlighten his heart so that he could rejoice in God’s presence in his monastic cell.

As we become willing to be healed, examine our hearts and confess our sins before God as the deaf man, we then definitely will have Christ healing us. In today’s Gospel Christ lays his hand on the deaf man and restores his ability to listen and to speak.  Not only that, Christ enables the deaf man to recognize who he was. Christ opened the deaf man’s spiritual eyes to see and love him. This was not the only case where Jesus laid his hands on people and healed them. In the Gospel of Luke, we read, “At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” (Luke 4:40) The same way the Apostles laid their hands on people as we read in Acts of the Apostles, “Then the Apostles began laying their hands on people, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17).

Today, we are given a chance to be healed as the deaf man was given. This healing happens only when we open up our hearts before God and ask him to lay his divine hand on us as he laid his hand on the deaf man. Today, with the same grace that the Apostles laid on hands and people received the Holy Spirit, we also receive the grace of the Holy Spirit only by confessing our sins and praying. Let us pray with Saint Gregory of Narek saying, “I pray to your unchanging, almighty Spirit… Send the all-filling gifts of your merciful grace and cultivate the reasoning fields hardened by my heart, that they might bear the fruit of your spiritual seeds. You who laid hands on the Apostles, filled the prophets, taught the teachers, made the speechless speak, and opened the ears of the deaf. Extend over me your right hand, and fortify me with your grace. Clear my mind of the fog of forgetfulness, dispelling the darkness of sin, that I might rise above this earthly life through wisdom. (Saint Gregory of Narek, Prayer 34.)

As the deaf man went home healed physically and spiritually, we also hope that with the grace of God, today we all go home healed by the visitation of the Holy Spirit, to whom belongs glory in all things, with the Father almighty and the only Begotten Son, now and forever. Amen.

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