Mark 7:37

and a profound impression was made on the people. “He has done everything well!” they exclaimed. “He makes even the deaf hear and the dumb speak!” 


overcome with wonder
we cease wondering

the wonder-working divine
is open for business

send in your prayer
indulgence sweetened

forcing promises to come true
is strangely unsatisfying

sometime who knows when
we just justify what is

wonder without joining in
is a starvation stopgap

revealing a demanding hole
unfillable from above

a wonder yearns
for a response


When we hear the people speak we need, in particular, to hear the poor speak. The Nicaraguan peasants in The Gospel in Solentiname389 reported by Ernesto Cardenal help us hear more openly.

FELIPE: “It’s the poor little people, the common people that go around saying that. They’re grateful for what he has done for them.”

OLIVIA: “The people that were already aware, that already had their ears open and their tongues loose. They weren’t the powerful, because to the powerful the liberation of the people is not a good thing.”

When we hear that Jesus has done “everything” well, more is being referenced than Mark has reported. This is a reference to a body of work, a congruence of word and deed. This event is simply a capstone to this particular arc of a larger narrative.

Even though “astonished” here is a different word than that found with a prior parallel story of Jairus’ daughter and later description of women fleeing an empty tomb, there is an experience of transformation in the crowd as well as in the one once deaf and, therefore, effectively silenced.

Here the word of astonishment, ἐκπλήσσω (ekplēssō), has the crowd “blown away” in the sense of having received a blow to their collective and individual consciousness. This pushes us out of our usual self-possession. It is when our world view, our sense of being helpless in the hands of implacable fate, finally shifts and we are collectively able to hear anew and speak/act anew—a time of liberation.

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