Peace and grace to you!
This weekend Jesus says to the deaf man and to us: Ephphatha—be opened.
The Gospel tells the story of a deaf man with a speech impediment. When it comes to deafness and impeded speech we can consider them on at least three levels: physical, social and spiritual.
On the physical level, there are many people who are hearing impaired. Some were born that way and for others it occurred through various reasons such as an accident, illness or aging.
On the social level, there are a great number of people with communication problems. We see this on the news where differing opinions and views are not listened to and aggressive, derogatory statements keep flying back and forth. We also see this in families where the same old things keep being said and not listened to and where old hurts can leave people not speaking to each other.
Though we may be able to communicate physically and socially, we could still suffer from spiritual deafness. We could fail to hear God in our lives. There is a plethora of noise. Distractions and distortions of truth abound in our world today. We all need to clear a space and time to listen to God speaking to us. We may also suffer from a spiritual speech impediment and lack the courage and depth to speak of faith to others—with understanding and diplomacy.
The Good News, the Gospel today for those with a physical impediment– “Ephphatha” be opened,– is that God provides the resources to assist those who are hearing impaired and those who have a speech impediment through medical research, technology and health care.
To those who are engaged in social discourse, Jesus says: be open! Listen respectfully to those with views that are different than your own and speak with honesty and charity– encouraging dialogue. To family members, change the old patterns that have led to entrenched estrangement, welcome each other’s words and value them. Try to respond and not react. Forgive each other so that you may be open to listen and speak to each other again in new ways.
To the spiritually impaired, make an effort to be open and aware of God’s constant presence in your life. God loves you! God is with you at every moment. Jesus always speaks the truth to you. Go to daily Mass, read scripture, make time for private prayer everyday when you speak to God and then listen for God speaking to you. Carry the presence and knowledge of God and your faith wherever you go. Say “God bless you” to others and don’t curse them. May the God of peace bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter