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A Miracle of Speech

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Today’s gospel reading begins with a miracle: “A demonic who could not speak was brought to Jesus and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.” I do not think in terms of demons and miracles with the ease and frequency of the Biblical writers, but I do recognize similar sorts of astounding encounters like the one depicted in this passage.

Some people really do have the amazing ability to open me up–to free me for speaking vulnerably, confidently, and candidly. They ask genuine questions rather than the polemical inquiries we often witness in the media. They seem to listen with their spirits as well as their ears. And this happens among some individuals I’ve known for years, and some who I have just met. They transform my frightened muteness into honest disclosure.
Have you experienced this miracle? Who has brought it about for you?
Lately, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is, exactly, that these individuals do to make me feel comfortable enough to share myself with them. I want to know so I can emulate their dispositions. I want to pass along the gift of open conversation that they give me. The more I try to capture what these individuals do, the more convinced I am that this miracle actually stems from who they are. Each individual that comes to mind possesses a gentleness and a generosity that welcome my words. This is not something they do; it is something they are. I, too, want to be more gentle and generous for others.
I like to believe that Jesus was this kind of person. The way I see it, Jesus may have healed the man’s muteness, but just because one can speak does not mean he/she will choose to do so. Jesus gave the man words, but the man spoke out of his own free will. Perhaps there was something about who Jesus was that compelled this man, just healed, to speak up for the first time.

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