FEB. 12. ORDINARY TIME. (B) WK. 5. FRI. MK. 7. 31-37
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.’
This was a very common occurrence in the life of Christ, with people coming to him, with Faith, and asking to be cured, and it is highly likely that there are multiple occasions where this happened but it was never reported!
An interesting observation from this reading is: “He took him aside in private, away from the crowd”,which seems to indicate a preference for the bulk of miraculous healings to be done privately. This is further borne out where he “ordered them to tell no one about it”, a common instruction he gave after many of his miraculous healings!
I think the reason for this is Christ did not want to be seen as a “wonder worker” as this would have detracted from his primary mission of teaching and being an example to his followers. He had no desire for fame or notoriety; - quite the contrary, he preferred seclusion!
Some miracles were necessary as they provided the “evidence” of his divinity and the truth of his teachings, but he wanted to avoid miracles becoming the “centrepiece” . Instead he wanted to be seen as someone his followers could imitate!
Where this is borne out clearly is in the fact that of the thirty three years Christ lived on earth, he only spent three years “in public”! Given that one of Christ’s primary duties was to teach, this is a truth that needs to pondered?
Most of his life was “hidden” and absolutely nothing is known about it, but we can assume, with a fair degree of certainty, that he spent the bulk of his years devoted to prayer and the living of a very “ordinary” life; - very similar to our own?
Given Christ wants “all” of his followers to “imitate his way of life” it is almost a prerequisite that he lead a “humble”, “hidden”, and “ordinary” life, but sadly this is a truth that is often overlooked.
Even when we pick up the Gospels this “lesson” is not easily seen, as they focus on only ten percent of Christ’s life, and we are told “nothing” about the other ninety percent. There is a powerful lesson here that deserves much greater consideration and reflection!
What it also shows however is Christ set us an example that all of us are well capable of truly “imitating” and, at the end of our earthly life we will not be able to claim that the example he set was one we were not capable of following!
We were not asked to perform miracles; - but rather to imitate the sentiments of Christ’s Heart!