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.
Today’s readings offer such an interesting parallel of disobedience. In the First Reading from Genesis, Adam and Eve are disobedient to God and eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their punishment, among other things, is an increase in awareness: of their nakedness, of their pride, and of their disconnect from God.
Mark’s Gospel account provides the opposite sequence. First, Jesus gives the deaf man the gift of greater awareness so that he can hear and speak clearly.
“He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.”
He disobeyed, seemingly, out of a sense of profound and uncontrollable joy. Why give the gift of hearing if not to hear Jesus’ message? Why allow clear speaking if not to proclaim His good works?!
We are called to celebrate our faith, our love of God. Too often in my own life I don’t do this. I want to live a life where I am in a close relationship with God, where I am overwhelmed with uncontrollable joy for the amazing things He has done for me in my life. I pray that we can all be like the deaf man and be willing to receive His healing touch – and to share that goodness to all those around us.
-Mr. John Penilla, ’99 is the Director of Alumni Giving and the JV Water Polo Head Coach at St. Louis U. High.
Lord God, touch our ears and our tongues, and lead us as you led the Twelve.
Hear our prayers for openness, and, as we pray, Ephphatha, may we too “be opened”
Please share the Good Word with your friends!