Again Jesus set out from the country of Tyre he passed through Sidon and, skirting the sea of Galilee, he came to the territory of Decapolis. There a deaf man, who also had difficulty in speaking, was brought to him. They asked Jesus to lay his hand upon him. Jesus took him apart from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears, and touched his tongue with spittle. Then, looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him, “Ephphata!” that is, “Be opened!” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about it, but the more he insisted, the more they proclaimed it. The people were completely astonished and said, “He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”
Fact is, we’re easily impressed when someone would perform and do extraordinary thing(s) before our eyes, like the acrobats in a circus or the tricks of a magician. We can hardly discern between what is reality and what isn’t because we are easily carried with the blink of an eye and are convinced that something unbelievable and extraordinary has happened.
“Be opened” (Ephphata) was the word of Jesus to the deaf man after placed his fingers into his ears and touched his tongue with spittle, and lo, he now can hear and speak. Warned by Jesus not to tell anyone but the cured deaf man and the people who witnessed the event cannot be controlled as they were all astonished. We too are being told and ordered by Jesus to be opened, to open ourselves to the will of God. Openness to God is His ongoing invitation to us. It means having complete trust in Him and complete surrender to His will so that we may hear Him and speak in the name of God.
We may be physically healthy and fit; we may be normal and able to hear and speak (not deaf and mute), but still cannot hear the voice of God and speak his truth because our hearts are closed to the truth of the gospel.
Oftentimes, we know who God is and can explain God rationally, philosophically, theologically, or based on facts and factual data. Surely, in our lifetime, we heard about God as we read literatures pertaining to Him, and studied the Scriptures well for some. But have we really heard and spoke about God and have we lived according to His words? Have we become true witnesses of the goodness of God and bearers of his good news in our families and communities?
My brothers and sisters, “if today you hear God’s word, harden not your hearts.” Be opened! Let us be open then to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and where it is leading us, so that we will know where are we going and what are we going to do.
The gospel is telling us about how much Jesus loved us, especially those who are sick, neglected and marginalized. The gospel has opened us to go to Jesus when we are sick, weary, low, helpless and needed healing. The gospel is good news indeed for the deaf man (who is also mute) and for all of us as our Lord is the supreme healer in our lives.
Jesus did not only heal the deaf man, but also the “deaf man” in us. Deafness is a physical state where one cannot hear or has difficulty in hearing, and since he cannot hear, his speech is also affected and so he can’t speak. After Jesus touched his ears and tongue, his ears opened and his tongue stretched. We too may hear and speak but refuse to hear and listen, speak and proclaim.
Let us not only be astonished and be believers to the extraordinary things or events that we see and experience, but let us also be astonished by the unconditional and timeless love of God that we all experience in every moment of our lives. Let us always be proclaimers of what we see, hear, and taste so that we speak God. Brothers and sisters, let us examine ourselves and ask ourselves:
Have we opened our hearts to the Lord so he can enter and live in us?
Have we heard the voice of God in the Scriptures and in the daily events of our lives?
Have we opened ourselves to the will of God so that we can hear Him clearly and speak of Him lovingly?
Can I claim that Jesus had healed me, thus, I can proclaim Him all the days of my life?
Am I convinced that the Lord has done great things for me and I am ready to proclaim his goodness and stand as His witness?
Prayer: Lord God Almighty, open our eyes to see you, open our ears to hear you, and open our mouth to proclaim your praise. Open and touch our hearts to love You, and our brothers and sisters, especially those who do not know you and those who are not loved.
Heal our sicknesses and infirmities so that we can recognize your greatness and goodness. We pray for those who are deaf and mute of your greatness, and those who may hear and speak but refuse to do so. May we sing your praise forever as you have done marvelous deeds in our lives as a family, community and nation. And all these Father, we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.