Reflection on the Gospel of the Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time
Jesus is in Gentile territory yet again and there is another pleading for healing. Jesus is receptive to the request but is keen to perform the miraculous healing in private. In fact the deaf and mute individual receives complete healing from Jesus and an instruction to tell no one about it. A miracle in secret and tell no one about it – why would Jesus want to keep these amazing signs of His divinity a secret? Wouldn’t he get more disciples and followers? Mark has a reason for this Messianic Secret.
In fact the message was very clear. Throughout the history of Israel’s waiting for the Messiah, prophets left clues with regards to recognizing the Messiah. He would bring liberty to captives, the blind would see, the lame would walk, the deaf hear and the mute speak. Jesus’ ministry was accomplishing the very same messianic promises but there was a problem. Israel was looking out for a political messiah, the one who would free Israel from the bondages of Rome and take the seat of King David establishing an earthly kingdom for Israel forever. Jesus on the other hand wanted to be the Spiritual Messiah, the one who would free humanity from the bondages of evil and sin, so that everyone has a chance to experience the eternal kingdom of being in the presence of God forever.
Recognizing the works of Jesus as the shepherd rescuing his sheep requires a more intimate relationship. We need to be his sheep by listening and responding to the call of Jesus. We too are deaf to the Word of God and mute to proclaim it because our hearts truly do not know the Lord. If we do know him and hear him, we sometimes ignore his voice. I guess the question is do we really want to be open to hear and respond to him?