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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ephphatha--Be Opened

 Now that we are back into the Gospel of Mark for the second week in a row after five weeks of John this coming  Sunday presents us with an interesting miracle story, one from which we can all learn.  People bring to Jesus a man who is deaf and cannot speak.  The Lord touches the man's ear and spitting touches his tongue (See Mk 7:31-37) and says "Ephphata (that is "Be opened.") and the man's ears are opened and he is able to speak.

  Like the people in the Gospel account we might be amazed at what Jesus does, but as is often the case with Jesus' miracles amazement is not enough.  There is a lesson to be learned that is often missed.  What is the lesson for us.

   In the rite of Infant Baptism there is an optional ritual where the child's lips and ears are touched with a recollection of this story.  The following prayer is then said"
                  The Lord Jesus made the deaf to hear and
                       the dumb speak. 
                  May he soon touch your ears to receive
                       his word,
                  and your mouth to proclaim his faith.
                  to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

    The first challenge for us then is to realize that our gifts of hearing and speech are given to us not only to hear the many sounds that come to us in God's creation and in the the human voices around us, and not as well to speak the words that we have to say, but to hear and proclaim God's word.  To do that we need silence. We need to get behind the myriad sounds and noises around us not to mention the anger filled and fear mongering words that come to us in order to truly hear what God is saying.  We can then be proclaimers of that Word as well.

   As we become more tuned to hearing God's Word we became more able also to listen to one another.  it seems to me that in this era of blogs and social communication networks that we can all get out some sort of message, but we don't know how to really listen.  That is why our political ads and debates so often degenerate into negative ads and name calling.  We have so-called talk shows which are only meant to reinforce ideas already held.  Try to call one of them with the opposing point of view.

   Lest we heap blame on politicians and media leaders we need to look into our own personal lives.  Do we really try and listen to our spouses, family members, friends?  Do we try and listen to and understand people who disagree with us about politics and religion or do we simply tune them out and shout them down?

   We all need Jesus to touch our lips and our ears and say "Ephphata, be opened."

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