And people brought to [Jesus] 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. (Mark 7:32-35)
One detail that always strikes me about this passage is the fact that Jesus “said to him, ‘Be opened!’” He did not say this to the man’s ears and mouth but, rather, to the man himself. The Order of Baptism for Children includes a post-baptismal “Ephphatha” rite in which the minister blesses the child’s ears and mouth, saying, “May the Lord Jesus, who may the deaf to hear and the mute to speak, grant that you may soon receive his word with your ears and profess the faith with your lips, to the glory and praise of God the Father.” This prayer is not asking for the physical ability to hear and speak but, rather, for an openness--a receptivity--to the Word of God and, subsequently, an openness--a willingness--to share and proclaim it.
Each of us harbors obstacles to our own openness to the Word of God: sinful tendencies, doubt, spiritual and emotional wounds and scars. Let’s pray today that Jesus might heal us of everything that holds us back from fully hearing and living His Word, and let’s work today to be instruments of that same healing in other people’s lives.