“He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’” (Mark 7:33-34)
Whenever we celebrate Infant Baptism, there is an aspect of the rite where the priest/deacon touches the ears and the lips of the child saying: “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak, may he so touch your ears to hear the word and your lips to proclaim the Faith.”
Today’s Gospel passage gives us the origin of this practice. Jesus had come into the region of Tyre and they brought to him a man who was deaf and dumb. Unlike other recorded healing episodes, this time around, Jesus performed a Sacrament; he used outward signs (matter; visible objects) and inward grace (form; words). In this way, Jesus instituted the Sacraments.
It is interesting to note that the opening of this man’s ears and mouth brought about an immediate proclamation of the word about Jesus not only by the man who was healed but by all those who witnessed the miracle. Even when Jesus could not stop them; the more he told them to be quiet about it, the more they proclaimed him zealously.
This is the irony of life – when we are told not to do something, that is precisely when we want to do it. In the course of his earthly life, Jesus did not want cheap popularity, but upon ascending to heaven, Jesus told us: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15). Now that Jesus said we should proclaim him all over the world, why are we silent about Jesus?
How often do I use my ears to listen to God’s word and my mouth to proclaim that word of God? Could it be that I am spiritually deaf and dumb? Do I find it difficult to defend my faith when the occasion arises? Silence about Jesus is equal to deafness about Jesus. The reason why I suddenly become shy, frightened and realize I have nothing to say about Jesus is that I have not heard much about him.
Let us ask God to open our ears and mouths today. Think of what would happen if all Christians in this world start talking about Jesus.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, open our ears and mouths to serve you better today and always. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Kings 11:29-32,12:19, Ps. 81:10-15, Mark 7:31-37).