The cure of the deaf man with a speech impediment comes with the familiar warning that he is not to tell anyone about it. Once again, Jesus is trying to draw people to himself for reasons other than his miraculous cures.
The prophet Isaiah had written “Then the eyes of the blind shall see, and the ears of the deaf be opened,” in the thirty-fifth chapter of his work. This oracle is regarded as one of the signs of the Messiah. When John’s disciples come to ask Jesus if he is the one for whom they wait, Jesus responds by evoking this very same prophecy.
In their decision to publicize these events even after being told not to do so may seem as if they are disobeying Jesus. However, it may tell us that they are spreading the news for the right reason. They have come to recognize Jesus as the chosen one, the one about whom all the prophets wrote.
To read the Gospel as somehow a disregard for Jesus’ instructions may be a little superficial. The best part of the Gospel story is the people’s immediate recognition of Jesus as the Promised One and their understanding that this is good news to be shared. They do not let anything get in the way of doing so.
Today we remember Saints Cyril and Methodius, the great evangelizers of the Slavic people. In the ninth century they translated the Gospel into the language of the people, inventing a new alphabet that is the basis for modern Russian and Slavic languages. Like Jesus who opened the ears of the deaf man and cured his speech impediment, these two saints opened the ears of the people, giving them the Word in a form they could understand and creating a way for them to write and speak plainly about Jesus. They stand as examples for all of us to continue in the task of evangelization and communication with those who have yet to hear the Good News.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator