In this weekend’s gospel, we are given another one of Jesus’ healing stories, but this one is uniquely different. All of the Jesus healing stories, up to this point, dealt with Jesus healing and teaching among the Jews, his own people. Mark now gives us Jesus’ first act of healing among the Gentiles.
In this story of Mark’s, it is told that a group of Gentiles bring a deaf man with a speech problem and beg him to be healed. He takes the deaf man away from the crowd and performs the healing by putting his finger in the man’s ear and spits on his tongue. He looks up to heaven and shouts “Ephphatha”, an Aramaic word meaning, “be opened”. Immediately the man’s ears were open, his speech impediment gone, allowing him to speak clearly.
That is the message we need to take from this gospel: Be open.If we look more closely, we can see that this is more than just a healing story. By telling the deaf man to “be open”, Jesus wasn’t simply commanding the man’s ears and mouth to be open. Jesus was commanding that the man trust in his faith and allow himself to be “open” to God, thereby allowing God to heal him through the intercession of His son, Jesus Christ. That is the message we need to take from this gospel: Be open.
Be open how? Be open to who or what? Living life guided by devout faith and understanding and acceptance is not easy, but it is also not impossible. We need to be open to allowing God and Jesus Christ into our lives, our minds, our souls, our hearts, and our faith. That is what faith requires of us: be open to the impossible; be open to the explainable; be open to the unimaginable. In doing so, the impossible becomes possible, the explainable is explained and the unimaginable becomes real.
The Gospel reading can be found here.