Isaiah spoke about what happens when God is present to people. Life is restored in that the desert is watered and people are healed of their disabilities. The prophesy was fulfilled in Jesus, who spent his short ministry tending to the sick and those on the margins of society.
In today’s gospel Jesus was travelling through the Decapolis region, which was a league of ten largely pagan Greek cities. The man in today’s gospel was almost certainly not a Jew and may not have known who Jesus was. He was brought to him by others. Jesus could not speak directly to him as He usually did. Instead he communicated in a way that the man could understand: he spoke to him through the senses that were functioning, those of touch and taste. He put his finger in the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. He drew him away from the crowds to give him privacy, for his speech impediment probably made him a figure of fun.
Jesus opened up the world for the deaf man. He could now speak to people and make friends. He was no longer isolated. He could listen to music and hear the birds sing. God opens up the world for us if we allow him to: we see and hear things in a different way. When we allow him to take charge, miracles happen. The Letter to the Colossians says of Jesus: “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” (Col 1:15)