Yesterday’s Gospel is one of my old time favorites. It has rich meanings, deeper and deeper, layer after layer.
Mk 7:31-37 And people 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.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
Imagine what it would be like to be deaf. It’s a very lonely and isolated / isolating world.
You would be locked within. Communication would be really tough and frustraing, except with those who know sign language.
You couldn’t use a telephone. Or drive a car.
Your speech would be hard because you couldn’t hear what you sounded like.
People would have difficulty understanding you.
Imagine how this man’s world suddenly opened up before him.
He was welcomed to the outer world. And his life was dramatically changed.
Many of us are closed, not open to many things.
We become cynical / angry / afraid.
Many of us have been wounded by “love” / rejection / betrayal.
Harsh life circumstances of many sorts.
We withdraw within; we put on a mask and not let others inside.
We close down. Batten down the hatches of our heart and soul.
I know what all this is like personally. I went through years of deep depression, locked within
I could hardly speak. There was little life coming in or going out.
But all that has changed.
So I’d like to share a little prayer.
Open me, Lord!
Open me to HEAR You speak through my four year old.
Open all my senses to sense your beauty everywhere
hearing / seeing/ smelling / touching / tasting deeply of life.
Close my ears to empty / hostile / uncivil / untruthful political rhetoric.
Open me to discover your Word.
Open my mind to learn new things and different people.
Open my ears to hear what my children or spouse or NOT saying.
Open me to books — good books
Open my eyes to notice the sky above and the trees and flowers as I drive to work.
Close my ears to gossip.
Open my mouth to utter a compliment or praise or a simple thank you.
Close my mouth before I utter harsh words about or to anyone.
Open my heart to You, God so that I may allow you to enter there.
Open me to the joy of life. Life to the full.
Open my capacity to Love You,
my spouse, my children,
the stranger I meet today who might become my friend.
Yes, open me Lord: open me, open me, open me:
Let me not be afraid to be have open hands and an open heart!
To You, God of Love and Life, be all honor and glory!
priest / writer