Der Vasken's Sermon on September 9, 2018

Sep 12, 2018

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

"And He commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He did so, the more they kept spreading the news."

Today's Gospel lesson speaks about one of the lesser-known miracles of Jesus Christ.  On this one particular day, Jesus and His disciples had grown tired from a day filled with preaching to enormous crowds and from a day filled with endless flows of people all seeking cures for their ailments.  But for some reason St. Mark, the author of this Gospel, chose to tell us not about the crowds of people gathered that day but about one person in the crowd who came seeking the healing touch of Jesus.

We know that thousands of people gathered around Him that day seeking His cure for their physical ills, but of those thousands of people, only one was written about in this passage of the Bible. [Mk. 7:31-37]   It says...."and they brought to Him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they asked Him to lay His hand upon him."  And the Bible says that Jesus took the man and his friends aside.  He prayed for him and He touched him and "his ears were opened, his tongue was released and he spoke plainly for the first time in his life. And He commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He did so, the more they spread the news."  And they were overwhelmed with amazement saying, "...He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Now, we have to ask:  Why was this man's story singled out so that today, so many years later, we are reading about it?  Jesus instructed the man He cured, and his friends, to tell no one what He did for them.  But they were so overwhelmed with joy that they told everyone they saw of the healing power of God, and their enthusiasm gave hope to others and gave them a chance to deepen their own faith in God. 

There's a reason this story was recorded in the Bible and the reason is this.  

  • How often do we speak about our faith?
  • And how often have we told others about the blessings God has placed in our lives?
This story was recorded in the Gospels to remind us that sharing our faith with others is to continue doing the work of God in this world.  Think about a scientist who discovers a cure for some horrible disease but refuses to share it with others.  He would be considered inhumane and selfish and many other things.  This is true in our spiritual lives as well.  We know that the Touch of Christ can heal not only the physical ailments of life but our emotional and spiritual ones as well.
  • That has been a truth handed down in our homes for generations.
  • That has been a truth family members have passed down since the time of Armenia's conversion to Christianity.
It is our place to speak about our faith and share the beauty of our faith with others.  We know that the Touch of Christ can comfort the grieving among us.  We know that He can be present to the person who is lonely and that He accepts the person who everyone else has rejected.  We know these things and we have believed them through the generations.

Our God's Touch enables us to overcome the difficulties of life.

  • It is God's Touch that enables us to continue when we feel like giving up and to pray when we are at a loss for words.
  • It is God's Touch that enables us to love even though our heart has been broken too many times.
  • It is God's Touch that enables us to sit calmly when we feel like "throwing up our hands" in frustration and to take the next step when we feel like "throwing in the towel," to be understanding when nothing seems to make sense, and to listen when we would rather not hear.
It is God's Touch. We are called to share how God has touched our lives and we are called to share how His Touch can better our lives.  Jesus "touched" people, verbally and physically, regardless of who they were or from where they came. 
  • He "touched" people young and old, rich and poor, known and unknown, saint and sinner.
  • He "touched" a homemaker, an outcast with leprosy, a young girl, a traitor and a blind beggar.
  • He "touched" a rich man and a sick woman.
  • He "touched" a powerful king and a poor widow.
  • He even "touched" a man who doubted Him and an enemy who hated Him.
He cares equally for everybody.  No person is beyond the "Touch" of Jesus Christ.  And He seeks to Touch our lives today.  May God give us all the desire to share His Touch with others so others may benefit.

Amen.