Imagine the scene. Jesus and his disciples are making their way along the road to Capernaum. Being a few paces away from the others, Jesus is not part of their conversation. Nonetheless he picks up the vibe: the disciples are squabbling among themselves. So, when they arrive at their destination, Jesus confronts them: “What were you arguing about along the road?” Attempting to cover their shame, the disciples say nothing.
There are two miracle-stories that occur only in Mark’s gospel: the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida, and today’s story of the healing of the deaf-mute. Both stories reveal to us the truly human face of Jesus who responds with compassion to people’s infirmities. But they also reveal the healing powers of the promised Messiah who will ‘open the eyes of the blind’ and ‘unseal the ears of the deaf’ (Isaiah).
We’ve seen them on car bumper-bars, keychains, lapel pins, and pendants. Users of online discussion boards and chat rooms find innovative ways to employ them in posts. They are the so-called “Jesus Fish”, a symbol comprising two intersecting arcs; or, in the case of online chat rooms, formed by the astute use of the “greater than” and “less than” symbols (<><).