The Gospel according to Mark (7:31-37)
Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. 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. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to reflect on these words today. I want to value this unique moment of grace you give me. Allow me to stay focused and prayerful so that I may grow in love for you more today than yesterday.
Grace…. God freely gives it to us. Jesus demonstrates today, in this healing of the deaf man, his great love for each of us. We; you and I; are special in eyes of Jesus and the Father. Think about that for just a moment. Let it sink in. You are just as important to Jesus and the Father as the person you despise the most! We are equally loved by them! Crazy right? – BUT true. But let’s focus on God’s love for you and me.
Every night when we go to bed, we pray for a restful night and also ask for a peaceful death. How often do we say this night prayer not really thinking about the significance of the words and their meaning? We fully expect to wake up in the morning and start all over again, but do we stop and think about the gift of another day of life? The grace of a new day?
In today’s gospel Jesus cries out “Ephphatha”, which is calling for this deaf man to be opened to hear the good news and he also cures his speech impediment so that he could tell others about seeing and experiencing first hand the mercy and love of the Messiah.
Jesus worked this miracle away from most of the people gathered. It is generally thought this miracle occurred in an intimate moment with the deaf man and Jesus. This cure goes much deeper than the obvious cure of the deaf man. If we look inward and apply this healing to ourselves we can quickly see that Jesus does not allow us to be left alone – even when we think or feel we are isolated. Instead He shows us how much we are loved or “graced” by his compassion and caring. It is Jesus that initiates the contact with us, however we must be open to receiving the grace. So how do we do that?
We cannot start our day without being grateful for the grace and gift of life. We are called to immediate prayer when we awake – to thank God for such a privilege and gift. We then are called to LISTEN to what the Father and Son want to say to us. So do we really listen? It is hard because we fill our day with many obligations and distractions that cause us to quickly move on from or away from prayer.
I often think how smart God was in creating mornings – you might not agree if you are not a morning person but mornings are a quiet and peaceful time that follow a nights rest – and prepares us to hear the “message” AND assignment for the day.
The question this gospel squarely puts in front of us today is – do we open our hearts and minds to the will of God each day OR do we turn a deaf ear to His will? Do we work at deepening our relationship with God OR do we put our own agenda first. Simply put – do we have time for God FIRST?
Remember that we ARE God’s child and he supplies all the grace we could possibly need to get through another day. And by the way, when we are having one of those terrible – nothing goes right – kind of day….. If we would just stop for a moment and give God a chance to re-focus us – we will be far better off…. and more Christ centered to continue on.
In my opinion there is a profound poverty in many of our relationships with others – and sometimes even with God! We are reminded in this gospel today that Jesus continually offers himself to heal us and restore us and bring grace to our hearts and souls to brighten our lives. Open that door to your soul each day, just like today, and fill yourself with the grace to sustain you – just for today! Tomorrow you can start all over again fresh and renewed.
Closing Prayer: Lord, open my heart with your healing touch. I want to know and love you more deeply. In many areas of my life, I am deaf and mute. I cannot witness to your loving presence or participate fully in Christian community when I am in need of such restoration. Send your spirit and open my heart. Fill it with your GRACE!
Action for the Day: Begin your day after reading this reflection by sitting and listening to a quiet, meditational song. Close your eyes and as you listen to the music – see Jesus and the Father holding you with big smiles on their faces as they fill your soul with the needed grace for today. This will only take 6-7 minutes out of your day! Try it – Be bold! I think you are going to like the feeling!
Listen and feel God’s Love and Grace!
“Healing the Heart”