Catholic scripture scholar Raymond Brown observes
that today's gospel tells
of an “unusual amount of contact”
between Jesus and the man he heals.
one of just two stories in Mark
where Jesus heals using physical
which did not appeal to later writers
who preferred showing
Jesus healing with a word.
So Fr. Brown suggests that the story we hear
developed in at least four stages.
First, there was the original
exorcism performed by Jesus,
where the man's “tongue was released.”
scholars of the Jesus Seminar agree
that Mark did not create the
that the healing of a deaf-mute very likely really happened,
out of the oral tradition
and gathering details as it was re-told.
the post-resurrection church in Palestine framed the event
in the words of
promise in Isaiah 35’s Messianic prophecy,
which we heard in today's first
"The eyes of the blind shall be opened
and the ears of the deaf
After that the Hellenistic church,
telling the story in the
context of their own time,
portrayed Jesus as a wonder-worker,
emphasis on the physical means of healing
that was part of their cultural
Finally, Mark adds a new layer of meaning
by drawing a
the disciples' deafness to Jesus' message
inability to profess faith in
Are we, here in 2015 US of
A, hearing this gospel in a fifth stage?
We are 50 years into the Vatican II
with its emphasis on the preferential option for the poor,
see Jesus talking with, reaching out to,
actually touching, with healing
one of the poor, the outcast, the unclean of his time.
So today we
that we cannot claim to be followers of the Way of
without reaching out to the helpless, the oppressed, the
As you know, I go to Claver
for breakfast on weekday mornings,
and it's there that I see this
gospel put into practice.
Just like in the gospel story,
I see people who
can't hear, people who can't speak,
people wearing tattered
people who haven't had a shower in a while,
people with missing
teeth, or no teeth at all.
More than that, I see lots of people reaching
Black and white and brown sit together and share a meal.
India talk to people from Indiana as equals.
When someone comes by for the
at least three people will call out a “welcome”
will get up and show them
where to get a tray and plate and silverware
explain how to negotiate the food line and coffee pot. There's
talk about the
weather and the news,
banter about the winners and losers in last night's
laughing at jokes and sharing
On top of that open
welcome, I see compassion.
People who have nothing themselves
When one of the regulars doesn't show up for a few
someone phones or drops by to make sure they're okay.
And I see
Each morning about 8:30 we pray the Our Father together.
notice Kenny, whose schedule gets him there
after the rest of us have
take off his hat, close his eyes, and bow his head,
and I see all
the others at his table
wait in respectful silence while he
And I see the
not just Catholics
but Protestants and Muslims and Jews
people without a religious tradition,
giving up a morning a week to slice and
dice and serve,
to put together casseroles and soups and sandwiches,
make toast and coffee and refill the sugar and creamer.
I see them taking a
break now and then
to sit and chat with the guests.
I see them listening,
more than being friendly,
When I get there on
the back seat of my car is packed to the roof
and the trunk is
filled with donations
that you gave me over the weekend—
and plastic bags,
pancake syrup and scouring powder,
clothes and shoes and
jigsaws and stuffed animals for the kids.
or three of the men
have to come out to help haul everything in.
when I see you,
you faithful followers of the Way,
reaching out and
just like Jesus teaches us to do.
Holy Spirit Catholic
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West
Central Avenue (Washington Church)
Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH