You can say it again that Isaiah is a historic figure that could easily be identified as the lovely feet that bring the good news; announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness, attesting the reign of God the almighty!
In the first reading of this Sunday, he assures his people to expect God who comes to vindicate the oppressed, rescue those in danger of death, fight the unjust, give sight to the blind and restoration to the deaf and dumb. This prophecy is fulfilled in the gospel today. Jesus puts Isaiah’s prophetic hope into messianic fulfilment as he heals the man impeded by deaf and dumb.
Lest we forget, the idea of the messiah prior to the time of Jesus was very majestic; a sharp contrast to the humble incarnation of Jesus, the servant-king. He is the saviour who does not from a distance command his armies to crush his enemies and save his people. He is one who humbly pleads for peace. His greatest peace movement is to restore the human person into his original well-being and wholeness. He gets involved. He touches him with no protective gloves. He uses his own spittle. There is something unsual and extra-ordinary happening here. Jesus was not giving him the power of speech or ability to hear for the first time; his was the mission to restore what evil has deformed after creation.
He takes this man aside. He understands how much attention he needs. He knows that the disabled persons could easily be lost in the crowd. He knows he has special needs. He knows he has a dignity to protect from the crowd. But most importantly, he wants to be healed.
A little step into the world of the deaf and dumb: think about the frustration of being in a foreign land where you can neither speak or understand the language. If that is frustrating, then imagine the inability to speak or hear any sound; yet you want to hear others and express yourself verbally. This man represents, not just those who are handicapped, but shows the frustration and helplessness that go with it, vis-a-vis the hope of Jesus’ healing presence.
On a further step, the deaf and dumb could represent the entire humanity Jesus has come to save. How often we could turn a deaf ear to the cry of those in need and pretend we don’t even see. How often we choose to be speechless in the face of obvious injustice.
Jesus has come to save us that we may be able to save others by the same saving grace. He commands “Ephphata” that the ears of our hearts may be opened to receive the message of love and salvation in other that our tongue may proclaim the good news that indeed, “he has done all things well”.