The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.09
Miracle No Miracle
In the gospel reading for today we are given an example of Jesus’ healing power.
The narrative constructed in such a way as to have the reader believe that what is important is the story of Jesus’ healing power, that he is able to make the deaf hear and the dumb speak.
This is understandable, because the people wanted to believe that these kinds of miracles did in fact occur, they hungered for tales of Jesus’ power.
The writers of mark had to tell the stories that were circulating among the believers, they felt compelled to make Jesus’ ministry a tale of wonder-working. Nevertheless, they were able to work a caveat into the story; the notion that Jesus did not want his healings to be publicized.
Mark’s Gospel, the earliest of the Gospels, is replete with these admonishments to secrecy.
The message they are sending is this; faith should not be based on stories of miracles. Myths and fables to not strengthen the Church, faith is trust, faith in God is trust in the unseen.
That is the way of Christ.
‘He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak’
Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time