Mk 7: 31-37

Then he 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.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Open to hear God’s word

In the baptismal ceremony, there is an optional prayer called the “Ephphatha” prayer.

With it, the celebrant touches the ears and mouth of those being baptized and prays that they may soon hear God’s word and proclaim the faith that comes from hearing. In a world filled with distractions and noise, it is more and more difficult to listen attentively to God’s word. Jesus is the Word, God’s perfect communication. If we want to know Jesus better and follow him in our daily lives, we have to meet him regularly in the Gospels.

It’s been said that the average Christian spends more time in one evening watching television (or using the internet and social media) than the entire rest of the week reading the Bible.  Do I devote as much time to hearing God’s word as I do to hearing the voices of the world?

—Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and director of St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

Prayer

May the Lord Jesus, who made the deaf to hear and the mute to speak, grant that I may always receive his word with my ears and profess the faith with my lips, to the glory and praise of God the Father.

—adapted from the Ephphatha prayer