Today's account is more than a miracle. Jesus performed all kinds of wonders and signs that weren't recorded by the evangelists. This one was written down because it spoke to the audience, and it speaks to us today, as Christ says, “Today, these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”
So besides the clear interpretation that Christ still can heal us today in miraculous ways, let us read this spiritually: Sin makes us deaf, dumb/mute to the things of God, to the promptings of His Spirit and the love of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Christ heals us of our sins through a personal encounter, in secret, away from the craziness of the world – in the soul, in prayer. (and in the confessional).
And just like this man was taken from the crowd, Has God ever used a situation in life to drag you out of your routine to listen to Him? Do you ever have silence in your day? In your week? (Our world has come to fear silence.) One lesson from today is certainly this: in order to be healed by Christ, we need to move ourselves out of the world to meet Him in prayer. Mass is part of this, but not all!
St. James reminds us today that God chose and chooses the poor. There are infinite examples of this in Scripture: think of Joseph and Mary, of shepherd-boy David, of the backwater men who are the Twelve disciples. It is the poor to whom the Lord reveals Himself, not because He has anything against the rich, but because they are deaf, dumb, and blind. They cannot take in God's message. Do we choose the poor, or put them aside for the rich, strong, and influential? Do we shun poverty and weakness because they remind us that we are not God and cannot control this world? That we are doomed to one day give an account to God for all we have done?
Solidarity, that is, unity as a human family, is kind of intimidating. It asks a lot of us to truly live as if everyone is my brother and my sister. If that is true, I should be like Christ, taking the suffering of every individual as in some way my own hurt. Their pain should make me 'groan' as Christ did in today's story. Where does Christ groan today? Where does He ask us to turn our eyes toward heaven and beg God's Mercy over the human family, both for our own sins and those of the whole world? We need only look to the newspaper to know what we must pray for.
Did Jesus need to go through this entire ordeal of leading away, looking up, groaning, touching his ears, his mouth, even spitting and finally saying “eph-phatha”? No, of course not. So why does he do it? Because these human actions show exactly the reason of God becoming man in the first place: he wants to relate to us directly, on our plane, so that he can lift us up higher. This is why he established His Church with Sacramental Signs. Each sacrament shows forth the two natures of Christ: the human element is the physical signs, the divine element is the word that is spoken.
Here in this Mass, as we step away from the crowd, we go to the Lord to be healed. And here in the Eucharist, He reaches out, touches us, and opens our Hearts to hear.