Reflecting on the Gospel reading today(Mark 7.31-37) about Jesus curing the handicapped man we might dismiss it as having no relevance for us. But, in truth, all of us have our handicaps. The fact that ours may not be as visible as those of the man in the Gospel doesn’t make them any less real.
In the Gospel, this man is brought to Jesus. We don’t know his history at all, only that at the time of the story he is deaf and has a speech impediment. The next part is a very intimate moment as he is brought to Jesus and Jesus actually takes him aside, away from the crowd, and physically touches his ears and spits and touches this man’s tongue. Jesus makes Himself present to this man, in his own vulnerability, in a very tangible way and uses tangible signs to release him from his insecurity and suffering.
In one way or another all of us are wounded, we each have or own handicapped, our own vulnerability; Something that hinders us from being able to fully alive, or a weakness that continually reminds us that we are wounded. Some of our weaknesses and wounds may be from bad childhood experiences. Our wounds may be from the death of a loved one, a sickness, or by a non-acceptance of ourselves. Others are wounded by failures that they carry with them, maybe an inability to forgive, or from facing rejection or indifference.
Our wounds and our vulnerabilities usually lead us to find security in something that is not always wholesome, either compensating in our personality or using other means to numb our minds and our hearts. However, in the Gospel today Jesus shows us another way. We see that Jesus not only wants to be with us and draw us away from the noise of the crowd, from the voices that will dampen our spirit, but that he also desires to heal us. He desires to journey with us in our woundedness, in our own specific vulnerability.
One of the things, in particular, that strikes me was a line from our second reading(James 2.1-5) today and how it relates to this Gospel story, “Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom.”
To take this back to our Gospel passage, the man Jesus healed was indeed poor; He has a great need, the need for a healer, the need to be complete. It is in this man’s great need, in His littleness, that Jesus comes and is able to work with Him and through Him, that out of this man’s suffering Christ brings His victory.
If we are rich in this world what need do we have of Christ or, rather, how do we see that we need Christ? If we do not need a healer, a wonder worker, a Saviour, then what do we need from Christ? Is it not our way, that when the Lord gives we rejoice, but when we are faced with suffering we resist and complain. However, it is a beautiful image, much like the one we see in the Gospel today, that in our own poorness, in our woundedness and vulnerability, we share in Christ’s suffering and that he draws near to us, if we but come to Him. He touches our wounds, He journeys with us and, in tangible and real ways, heals our broken hearts and brings us to rejoice in His victory over all that tries to hold us from Him.
“Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love Him?”
So let us embrace our wounds, our littleness, our poorness, as a way to His immense love for us!