In today’s Gospel reading, we see our Lord traveling with his disciples to Decapolis. There, some people brought him a person who was deaf and also could not speak. They begged Jesus to lay his hand on him, heal and help the man. The way in which the Lord healed this suffering man is extraordinary in so many ways.
First, we must notice that this was an area a typical Jew would never venture into. So, here Jesus was stepping out of his comfort zone as a pious Jewish man and rabbi. Second, He removed the man from the crowd. It is as if Christ was liberating this man from his traumatic past in order to heal his present life which is exactly how modern therapy and counseling work. The crowd, social gatherings, and interactions were probably associated with all kinds of traumatic childhood and past experiences for this disabled man. Third, the healing methods such as inserting fingers into his ears, touching his tongue, and using saliva, perhaps bear similarity to the healing practices of the time in this Hellenistic area, which would be familiar to him and something he would recognize and be able to relate to. Two important things happen here – Jesus steps out of his world and steps into this man’s world in order to heal him. Today’s Gospel reading is about the wonderful things that happen though God when we step out of our comfort zone and step into someone else’s world.
We recognize the name Helen Keller and know her as the author of fourteen books, disability rights advocate, speaker, and political activist. She achieved all of these despite being completely blind and deaf since she was 19 months old. How could someone who spent a lifetime in the brutal chains of silence and darkness achieve and accomplish these? Keller’s teacher and life-long friend – Anne Sullivan, refused to give up, be disappointed and discouraged by how dim the prospect of teaching Helen language, alphabet, spelling, and sciences was. She stepped out of her comfort zone as an individual and teacher and stepped into Hellen’s world of silence and darkness as a friend, and created a system that would allow her to teach and communicate to Hellen by human touch.
When for the love of God and humanity, we decide to leave the boundaries of our little world and step into someone else’s reality, pain and suffering, we are instantly transformed into the divine healing touch for these individuals. It is too easy to put off any such notion as radical and beyond our ability. It is too easy to say we don’t have enough time, talent, and gifts to transform someone’s life truly. But doing so would undermine and deny God because it is not us but him who will empower, strengthen, and guide us. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” (John 14:12). This is the promise of our Lord who takes our offering of love no matter how small and insignificant it is and multiples it, so it is enough to feed and sustain thousands (Matthew 15:34-36).