The Gospel for this weekend tells the story of a person’s life being radically changed by Jesus’s engagement with him. People brought a deaf man whose speech was impeded to Jesus and asked him to lay hands on him. Jesus responded to their request, taking the man aside, touching his ears and tongue, and saying: “Be opened.” And they were opened. Imagine what that was like: being unable one minute to hear the sound of another’s voice, to hear the sounds of nature, to know when something is dangerously close or safely distant. Imagine what it is like to speak for the first time in a manner that people readily understand what you are saying. How would you respond to this double transformation? I expect I would be excited, enthused, grateful, and very much wanting to sing from the rooftops. And that is how the once-deaf man responds. Touched by Jesus, he will never be the same.
I have known any number of people in my life who have been touched by God, transformed really, and they have been hesitant to proclaim the greatness of God in their lives. They have felt awkward about seeming to call attention to themselves. Lost in this false humility, an opportunity to give honor and credit to God was ignored. The chance to make known God and God’s goodness was overlooked. The rite of baptism has a prayer in which the person’s ears and mouth are touched while the priest or deacon says: “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” The prayer makes clear that the word received as gift is meant to be shared through our proclamation of praise and glory to God. This is meant for all of us. We who have heard God’s word and been transformed by it are to praise and glorify God.
In the past, many of us have left the proclamation of the Good News to professional preachers and been content to do so. But that is not what our baptism calls us to do, nor is it what Jesus commanded us to do when he said: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” This is a change that can make us uncomfortable; but it is one we must respond to and act upon. There are many people we interact with who need our voice, who need to hear our testimony to the way in which God has touched and transformed our lives. Without our witness, they may never learn the multiplicity of ways that God invites us to come to know him. If we won’t share with others the goodness of God as we have experienced it, who will?
Take your next step: Think about the ways in which God has touched your life and changed you. Consider what would help you to speak of the transforming impact God’s love has had for you. What would free you to be able to speak openly about your relationship with God?