Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to Him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged Him to lay his hand on him. 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.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more He ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” – Mark 7:31-37
Authors and poets are always desperately searching for the “perfect” word, the precise word, the most appropriate word, the word that conveys the thought exquisitely. Here I take notice of certain word selections by Jesus and Mark. “an impediment in his speech”, “Jesus looking into heaven and sighing“, “be opened!“, “makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak”.
“Impediment” … obstruction; hindrance; obstacle. Something is keeping the man from speaking, or at least, speaking clearly. And so often in life some fear keeps any of us from speaking clearly.
“Sighing” … the sound of a person grieving or yearning. Why would Christ be sighing in the healing moment … why would He was grieving, for what would He be yearning? Is the answer found in His words …”Be opened.” Are we closed-minded with closed hearts? Christ yearns to heal of this closing of heart and mind for it grieves Him.
“He makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak…” He chooses not to use words such as “invites” or “encourages” but rather “makes”, a creative word that re-forms the materials into something more. Oh, how this world is in need to be healed of our selective deafness, our closed-mindedness and closed-heartedness, to speak clearly without the clamor of bigotry and prejudice.
I yearn with Christ and I grieve with Christ for we all suffer from a noisy deafness and muted hearts, and the Lord is ready to heal with the creative command, “Be opened!”
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz