Sunday, September 9, 2012
THE FIRST WORDS HE HEARD WERE UTTERED BY THE WORD HIMSELF
The coming Sundays, as we approach Advent, will see the readings gradually move towards the theme of the Last Judgement and the end of time. We are confronted by Christ's teaching that to truly be a disciple we must follow Him Cross and all.
This Sunday's Gospel appears at first sight to offer little ground for the preacher. Jesus heals a deaf mute. He does so in an unusual way. Others are healed merely at his command, as the cripple in the synagogue or at a distance like the centurion's servant. Why then does the Saviour take this man aside and so such very intimate acts: He sticks His fingers in the man's ears and puts His spittle on his tongue. This last reminds me of my mother spitting on a hanky to wash my face. Perhaps the man needed this kind of personal ministry. He needed to be touched! Jesus came to the man where he was and as he was. The touch of Christ brought Him healing, it freed him. Imagine, the first words he heard were uttered by the Word Himself!
So Christ comes to us. He does not love us as we are but He loves us as He created us and redeemed us to be: perfect. He does not wait for us to become perfect though. He comes to us and loves us towards that perfection which He had predestined for us. Indeed we cannot become perfect without His grace, we cannot even begin to approach the state our first parents had before the fall. We cannot become perfect or even better without His grace. He comes to us to love us despite our sinfulness and imperfection and to offer us healing and salvation.
But we must co-operate. We must, like the man in Gospel, go aside with Him and allow Him to minister to us. We must allow Christ to touch us. We must allow Him to bathe us - even if it is in 'spittle'. We must allow Him to do whatever He wishes to do, to use whatever He needs to use to heal and renew us.
You have already been bathed in the waters of Baptism and He has touched you in your anointing then and at Confirmation and it is He who feeds you, His Body, with His Body and Blood at Mass. He it is who wishes you to see His Face and the light of His Divine Radiance. He wishes you to hear His voice in His Word and in His Church. He wants you to be whole, to be truly free. He restores Your speech so that you can tell everyone about what He has done for you. That's what your tongue is for.