Canon Anthony is on Retreat so we have a guest reflection from Sister Clare Knowles:
The man who was deaf and dumb could not ask for healing himself. He had to rely on his friends who brought him to Jesus. Nevertheless, his own part in the healing required a lot of faith. He had to allow Jesus to take him away from the crowd and to touch him inside his ears and mouth. This would have taken a great deal of trust.
Jesus took him apart so that the noise from the crowd would not be a sudden shock when his ears were opened. He touched the man’s ears and tongue to communicate to him that his speech and hearing were being healed. Then, Jesus sighed and looked up to heaven. His prayer for the man was that he ‘be opened’ to God.
Jesus’ physical healings point to spiritual realities. I may be well able to hear but at the same time, be deaf to the truth. The world is full of noisy, distracting and confusing messages that can prevent me from hearing God’s voice. If I cannot hear the message of heaven, there is no way I can speak it to others.
That is why Jesus often had to allow the Spirit to lead Him away from the crowds to quiet places where he could hear the Father’s voice. Only He can open me to heaven to hear God’s word and speak it clearly.
So, I need to trust the Lord every day to lead me away from the noise of the world into interior silence. Then allow Him to touch my mind with the healing message of eternal life. Taking time away from the crowd and the familiar noise of the world can feel daunting – even scary. I have to overcome my doubts: will I hear or feel anything of God or will I just be wasting time? As I enter the inner stillness, I no longer rely on my own judgements based on sense perceptions from the outside world.
As St James’ letter reminds me, however, we were never meant to judge by appearances. The Lord, Who looks at the heart, sees and judges everything truly. He is the only guide we can really trust. He will never fail us and is ever willing to teach and heal us. Isaiah has reassured us about this: ‘Do not be afraid. Here is your God …he is coming to save you.’