Mark tells us today that the people around Jesus "were astounded beyond measure...." He had just healed a deaf individual who had a speech impediment. Prior to this, and without the knowledge of those who were amazed, he had healed a Syrophoenician woman's daughter, from a distance: something even more amazing than what those folks saw who witnessed the deaf individual's cure.
I think the pairing of these two healing stories is making a point about our human nature. We jump to conclusions quickly. We can make definitive statements about people and incidents, believing that what we have witnessed and experienced sums up the entirety of a person or situation. We, in general, want simple and direct answers, because they are easier to put into a box and stop thinking about them. All we need to do is to look around, think about what is going on in our world, in both the secular and religious realms, and we can see the truth of this human condition of ours.
In the pairing of these two stories Mark is readying the hearer for what is to come. If those folks were amazed at the healing of the deaf individual without knowledge of the prior miracle, how are they going to react to the mysteries involved in the Passion, death, resurrection and ascension?
Going for the simple and direct can be comforting, but in almost all cases there is more there for us to chew on and digest. Mark is leading us to be open to and ready for the deeper mysteries, the more nuanced aspects of our life as the Body of Christ in the world today.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.