We should never underestimate the power of human support and love. It helps us to be healed. The Gospel story of the healing of the deaf-mute is striking because it is one of the few stories where the crowd makes the request of healing from Jesus. This is understandable given that the man cannot speak for himself, but the scene, as Mark writes it, is very touching. Mark tells us that the crowd brought the man to Jesus. “They” beg Jesus to heal him, “they” are ordered not to tell anyone about the miracle, but “they” go straight out and tell every- one about it.
In our own way we bring the deaf and the mute to Jesus each time we gather. This is what the Prayers of the Faithful [or bidding prayers] are all about. This is why they are so important.
When we visit another parish we can tell a lot about it by the care with which the intercessions are composed and compiled. If they only attend to the needs of the parish and never with the wider church or the world, if they focus on the needs of the Catholic world and never on the plight of those in crisis, who may not share our faith or may hold to another or no faith, it says so much.
The church has always believed in the power of intercessory prayer. Not that God needs to be reminded what our world needs. God knows that better than we know it. But intercessory prayer sorts our priorities and establishes who has a claim on our affections and concerns. It also enables others to know that we stand in solidarity with them.
And miracles still happen when we are one with those for whom we hope and pray. Sometimes the first miracle that occurs is that we notice the needs of some group beyond our immediate circle. Their suffering moves us and we choose to help them.
Let us pray that Christ removes our blindness, opens our ears, and loosens our tongues so that we speak up for those who are most in need of a helping word that brings them justice and peace.