It is tempting to focus solely on the healing of the deaf man with a speech impediment in this Sunday’s gospel. For that is in fact, an astounding feat! Who makes the deaf hear? Who makes the dumb speak? Only Jesus could do that… but in his own unique way of doing things. Let us focus on Jesus’ way, his act, his move.

Before the healing started, Jesus moved the deaf man away from the crowd. From the start, the healing was not to be interpreted as a wonder-working gimmick for the world to see. The Lord took the man off from the spectators so that he could be with him alone, total, present, and immediate. Those who saw noticed Jesus touching the man’s ears, touching his tongue with his spittle, groaning and then directly speaking to the man: Be opened!

The world of Jesus is a world of hearts. Here is the beating heart of God in human flesh reaching out, pulsating with love, and overflowing with mercy for those in misery. And then there is the yearning heart of the creature crying out for help, for deliverance, for healing and for peace. Jesus took the man away from the crowd to make it very clear that this healing, this miracle, is first and foremost an impulse of divine love.

Jesus’ heart encounters a suffering human heart. The sufferer, sensing the sincerity of the Lord, opens his heart in trust and confidence. The miracle happened between two hearts before it became manifested in the restored and renewed body of the disabled man.

That Jesus touched the man and spoke directly to him, further assures us of the deep personal investment he made in this encounter. That the man responded positively to Jesus’ words and actions shows that his whole life, not just his body, was touched by grace. Truly, Jesus’ presence is the love of God made visible and concrete for the poor and needy of this world. In Jesus, we confirm that the name of God is Love!

Today many people readily dispense with assistance for people in need. But they do so from a vantage point of superiority and power. Others perform acts of charity with selfie sticks that can guarantee that their generosity will be soon available on FB or IG. But the poor and the suffering can feel the motive of the person before them. Somehow, they know which ones truly deal with them from the heart.

Let us remember St. Francis de Sales’ words: “Heart speaks to heart, and the tongue speaks only to men’s ears.” Let us imitate Jesus in making memorable, life-changing investments in our relationships with those who need us most.