Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 6, 2015
I sometimes find myself wondering what comes next. What happens after the characters in Scripture disappear from the page? What’s the next chapter of the story? What happened next after the Syrophoenician woman’s plea to Jesus for her daughter’s healing was answered? What happened next after the man whom Jesus healed found himself able to hear and see clearly?
In today’s texts we catch a hint of what happened next. Although Jesus ordered the man and his friends to tell no one about the healing, in their astonishment, they could not help but proclaim the good. I imagine the same held true after the Gentile woman arrived home, finding her daughter free of the demon that had haunted her. Good news is meant to be shared!
Both the Syrophoenician woman and the deaf man’s friends sought out Jesus. They begged for his attention. They longed for relief. Confident in the power of the man Jesus from Galilee, their persistence paid off. Healing appeared.
As part of the second healing, we hear Jesus’s words, “Be opened.” Physical and spiritual healing can prompt a sort of openness. An openness to a new outlook on life. An openness rooted in a deep confidence in the promise of God’s abiding love. An openness to new possibilities.
Healing comes in many forms, such as physical health, a sense of spiritual contentment, the sustaining companionship of a community. As we’ve sought out Jesus, what have we encountered? How and when has healing appeared in our lives? How have we changed as a result?
Jesus seemed adamant that the man’s friends should not speak of the healing they’d witnessed, perhaps because they did not yet know that Jesus came to offer much more than relief from bodily ailments. We. however, know the full story—the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We are called to proclaim that Good News. As we do so, we are called to be opened to the possibilities that result from seeking and from finding Jesus.
We hear Jesus’ proclamation, “Be opened.” We have been given the key. What will we do next?
Heather Vacek, Moravian pastor, faculty, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary