Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jesus Restores Us to Life-giving Ways of Relating

In the Gospel of today, Matthew 9: 32-38, Jesus casts out a demon that had taken possession of a man, rendering him mute. When Jesus expelled the demon, the mute man was able to speak!  I think of times when I have assumed a muteness, refusing to speak to someone with whom I had been angry, righteously so or in unrighteous ways; or when I myself have been given the silent treatment by another. Either way, the effects are painful and exclude God!

When I abandon God, God allows me to "return to Egypt," the place in which I was a slave to sin (compare today's first reading, Hosea 8: 4-7, 11-13).  One can become stuck in that place where one treats another with angry silence!  In those times, the words of Psalm 15 are applicable: They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; they have noses but smell not. They have hands but feel not; they have feet but walk not.  [Others] shall be like them, everyone that trusts in them."  Most times, in that frame of mind that leads us to treat others disrespectfully and put the blame on them, we do not see what we are doing that has contributed to the problem. We may be blinded by the tendency to blame others.  When  that happens, we do not assume any responsibility for to take steps toward reconciliation. Our hands seem tied behind our backs and we do nothing to make things right!  Others may join us and applaud us for holding firm in our choice to resort to the silent treatment.

May Jesus drive out the demon that renders us mute!

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