The ministry of Jesus which goes beyond the Jewish territory and into the gentile areas is a beautiful illustration of what the prophet Isaiah proclaimed in the first reading this Sunday (read Isaiah 35: 4-5). The age of the Messiah and salvation has come, not only for the Jews but for the gentiles as well. The miracles of Jesus are primarily motivated by his compassion for the suffering and his desire to bring freedom to people long under the yoke of oppression, whether physical, moral, or spiritual.
On many occasions, Jesus would do miraculous healings just by a simple command, without having physical contact with the person. Today he touched the deaf man’s ears, and tongue with his saliva; they are initial manifestations from Jesus regarding the sacraments. In fact, this action of Jesus has been incorporated into the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism. This action is further illustrated by the fact that God has indeed come in the flesh and into our midst.
The healing miracles and many other wondrous deeds of Jesus are not meant for public show and spectacle but are effective reminders to people that God is with them, and that there is salvation at hand, in and through Jesus. That is why, in every miracle, Jesus exhorts the people to follow and believe in him so that he may lead them to salvation. Many of us are asking for miracles from God. But are they still necessary? When we have already received the gift of faith, when we already believe in Jesus, miracles are already unnecessary and academic. If Jesus did miracles so that people would believe in his words, then for us who already believe, miracles may not be necessary anymore. Let us be thankful that we have already the gift of faith, and if we nurture and strengthen this faith, it is that which produces miracles.
We can never blame God for any lack of effort to warn and remind us and call our attention. It is just that many of us are simply stubborn and have hardened hearts. We choose to be deaf to God’s warnings and pleadings. God continues to respect our freedom. He can just call us, remind us, and invite us. But we have to make the decision to accept His call for conversion. We have to open our hearts to His Word. Only then can He begin to work out our salvation.
Peace and good.
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
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