23rd Sunday of Year B

The Lord made the deaf hear, the blind see, the dumb speak, the lame walk freely

These miraculous signs foretold in Isaiah which are a graphic reality in the Gospel passage today - and the rendered cures are due to the presence of God’s healing love. He is not dispassionate or indifferent, or biding his time, playing with us. He is with us all the time – and He acts in HIS time, at an hour when we do not expect, and the longed-for miracle we seek comes. This should elicit faith, wonder, and above all grateful praise.

These physical signs or manifestations point to a deeper reality – the senses symbolize the spiritual within. Those who are truly blind are the proud and willfully stubborn, those who refuse admit the truth about themselves in the light of GOD or in the light of others’ helpful insights or advice. The stubborn refusal to change one’s ways where necessary is dangerous to one’s health and wellbeing, both physically and also for one’s salvation.

I can be so blind to my own faults, and stubbornly want complete control of my destiny and future where diet and exercise is concerned that I feel I can unaided and unsupervised lose weight and change in my own good time and effortlessly. How many people also, for example, refuse to heed the warning signs on cigarette packets, oblivious or taking their chances that they can avoid the statistics – or be on the right side of them? How many people turn a blind eye to the obvious effects of alcohol abuse, or long term effects of compulsions and addictions or other harmful habits? How come so many people seem to think they can escape unharmed?

Deafness to advice, criticism meant in the right spirit, to the truth about myself and condition seen objectively by a dentist, doctor, counselor, therapist, confessor or true friend?

Being mute – in a spiritual way – means being deliberately silent when speech (and action) is necessary in the face of injustice and lies. This is called ‘guilty silence’. How often have I perhaps failed to stand up for the weak, vulnerable and innocent and have hidden somehow anonymously in the mob – form bullying at school to cyber-bullying, or in domestic life or the workplace? Have I hidden, or hidden from the truth?

Being paralysed – in a spiritual way – means failure to act, for any number of reasons: laziness, fear to overcome my faults and take the necessary steps (at last) and no longer procrastinating.

Where is healing and by implication, change, needed in my life? What am I afraid to change? What is preventing me from being ‘the best version of myself’ – the version God wants, the version that is often highest benefit to others?

The stark use of Jesus’ fingers and spittle point to perhaps the indispensable directness and radicalness of change – the pointed and probing analysis that we find uncomfortable with any physician, but all the more necessary and remedial (as in remedy) that Christ the Divine Healer wants for my wellbeing and completeness and ultimately my happiness in this life and the next. We must allow ourselves to be touched by Christ in this way. We must be open – in order to ‘be opened’. May it happen soon!

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