23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 9/9/2012 - Gospel: Mk 7, 31-37
Physical and mental deficiencies appear as a visible sign on a person we have no trouble to  recognize them but the hidden ones such as spiritual deficiency is hidden from us and we don't know them. They are invisible to us. Mental deficiencies are obstacles slowing us down to gain knowledge and achieve skills to support life, while the physical ones limit us in taking on certain careers. Both mental and physical deficiencies don't stop us having faith in Jesus but the spiritual one stops us having faith in Jesus. We find in the Bible that there were several occasions when people who came to Jesus with hidden intentions. They formed tricky questions hoping to catch him off guard. They never had success and Jesus labelled them as hypocrites. There were also numerous cases recorded in the Bible that Jesus met people with deficiencies that physicians had exhausted all means of treatment and had gavin up. These people met Jesus unexpectedly and the God of surprise had done wonderful things, restored their life to the full. 

Jesus entered the Gentile Decapolis region. People were surprised that Jesus didn't go to His own people but entered the Gentile region. There was another surprise that was bigger than the first one. It was the healing of a deaf man. He was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. Deafness and speech defects often go together. Because of his impediments- deaf and dumb- it seemed that it was impossible for the man to reach Jesus. We don't know that it was by his desire to see Jesus that people helped him or his misfortune in life that initiated mercy from the people. It was more likely that people took pity on him had brought him to Jesus and asked Jesus to lay his hand on him. The man spoke not a single word because he could not speak and also there was no indication from the man expressing his desire for healing through body language. There was no dialogue, no indication of his faith in Jesus. Jesus quietly took his hand, led him away from the crowd and cured him with the word 'Ephphatha'. Everyone in the crowd could utter the word but it had no power but when the same word came from the mouth Jesus it had the power to open the man's tongue and he was able to speak in public. This made the crowd confess that he speaks with authority. The word has no power of its own. It was Jesus who gave power to the word to open the ear and tongue of the man.

Probably it was not the faith of the man but the faith of people who brought the man to Jesus that made Jesus help the man. Second, on behalf of the man those people requested Jesus to cure the man and Jesus granted it to them. This helps us to believe that with faith we can pray for others and God responds to our prayers. 

Physical and mental deficiency are caused by our human imperfection or by an accident of nature we can't avoid them but spiritual deficiency is intentional. It is a free choice to live a life that way. It is a life that denies God's love and peace and mercy. It is a life that I want to be god and there is no other god beside me. We pray to have the courage to bring Jesus to others and the wisdom to avoid spiritual blindness.