So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:13
whose word is life,
and whose delight is to answer our cry:
give us faith like that of the woman
who refused to remain an outsider,
so that we too may have the wit
to argue and demand that our children
be made whole, through Jesus Christ.
- Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
- Psalm 125
- James 2:1-10, 14-17
- Mark 7:24-37
- Proverbs 1:20-33
- Psalm 19
- James 2:18-26
- Mark 8:27-38
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 15 – Mark 7:24-37
They brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. Jesus put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; he then looked up to heaven and groaned, and to him “Ephphatha” – that is “Be opened.”
Ephphatha – “Be opened!”
Isaiah’s vision of a Messiah who would come with hope and healing (today’s first reading) is realised in this episode from Mark’s Gospel: the deaf hear, the silent are given voice, the lame “leap like a stag.” The exhortation Ephphatha! is not only addressed to the man born deaf but to his disciples both then and now who fail to hear and see and speak the presence of God in their very midst.
The Aramaic phrase ephphathaliterally means “be released” – Jesus “releases” the man not only from his disability but from his isolation from the community, his alienation from God.
Jesus’ curing of the deaf man with spittle (which, in Jesus’ time, was considered curative) is an act of re-creation. God’s reign is present in human history in the extraordinary ministry of Jesus. Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus insists his healings be kept quiet in order that his full identity be revealed and understood only in the light of his cross and resurrection.
Jesus restores the deaf man’s hearing with the word Ephphatha – “Be opened!” We, too, can bring healing and life to those who need the support, the affirmation, the sense of loving and being loved that the simple act of listening can give.
In times of grief, despair and failure, we can be “deaf” to the presence of God in the love and compassion of others; or we can become so preoccupied with the noise and clamour of the marketplace that we are unable to hear the voices of those we love and who love us.
Jesus not only cures the man with a fleeting word but, by his touch, he enters into the grit and grime, the struggle and pain of the man’s life and, in doing so, brings hope and healing to the man.
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