Man Fully Alive

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
(Mark 7:31-37)

Scripture Study

7:31 Sidon A Phoenician port on the Mediterranean Sea, about 20 miles north of Tyre. Decapolis A region of ten cities; the same region where the demon-possessed man had proclaimed what Jesus did for him (5:20).

7:34 Ephphatha A transliteration of the Aramaic term eppathah, meaning “be opened.” The recordings of Jesus speaking in Aramaic (His native language) in the Gospel of Mark suggest its very early date.

7:36 he ordered them Jesus probably gives this instruction to the man and the people who brought him, in order to conceal His identity until the proper time (v. 32). Jesus continues to veil His true identity (compare note on v. 24). Jesus’ true identity so challenged the religious leaders of the time that it led to His execution. Mark’s Gospel notes that Jesus is aware that the unveiling of His true identity, as God’s Son and the Messiah, will lead to His death (2:20; 8:31).

Scripture Reflection

Like all healings in the Gospels, the physical cure of the deaf and mute man is real, but also has a deeper spiritual significance. God designed human beings not only with the physical senses but also with marvelous spiritual capacities to see, hear, and relate to him. These interior faculties were disabled by original sin, causing a severe communication block between God and humanity. Jesus’ healings of people who are deaf, blind, and lame is a sign of his restoration of humanity to the fullness of life and of communion with our Creator. Now by the grace of Christ we are able to hear God’s voice in our hearts, sing his praises, and proclaim his mighty deeds (see Acts 2:11). “The glory of God is man fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).

– Mary Healy

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.