In this morning’s Gospel as Jesus heals the deaf and speech-impaired man, we watch as grace intrudes, amazing grace, mercy in abundance expressed in the infinitely tender touch of Jesus. Jesus is God’s word in opposition to all sickness and evil and pain. Jesus enfleshes the words of the prophet Isaiah from the First Reading: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God; he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped…then the tongue of the mute will sing.” This morning these words are fulfilled in our hearing . The Kingdom is now, here among us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He reverses and restores, breaking through dead ends with hope and the promise of a new way through. This is what Jesus wants, this constant eruption of the Kingdom. Jesus’ healing restores this man to his family, his kinsfolk, and his friends. He is no longer isolated by his malady. Jesus gives this man back to ordinariness. He will be able to hear a friend say hello, hear her laugh; hear a breeze blow through the trees. He will at last be able to speak clearly, tell someone a story; whisper I love you. He can simply blend in again. Jesus has given this man back to ordinariness, blessed ordinariness. It is after all where he always comes to meet us.
God only wants to be ordinary. It is why Jesus has come, God with us, near us, in us. The ordinary is charged forever with his kind, incessant presence. God longs to be ordinary, not taken for granted, but here, always here with us. Why else would he choose to be a child, why else a small town carpenter and a wandering teacher? Why else allow himself to be done in by thugs and jealous bureaucrats? Why else choose to be hidden in a morsel of bread on our altar?
Excerpts from this morning’s homily.