Friday 11 February 2022 – EPHPHATHA!

Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: 1Kngs 11:29-32;12:19

Jeroboam left Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road. The two were alone in the area, and the prophet was wearing a new cloak. Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam: “Take ten pieces for yourself; the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp and will give you ten of the tribes. One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant, and of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’” Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.

Gospel: Mk 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.

JESUS SAID TO HIM EPHPHATHA! (BE OPENED!): In the creation narrative, we seethe pattern, “God said …. and it was so. ….  And God saw it was good.” We see the same structure in the healing of the deaf man today. Jesus said, “Be opened, and the man’s ears were opened”. Similar to the statement, “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (1:31), the Gospel concludes with, “He has done all things well.”  God created everything good, and always does well. However, we still find problems in the world: blindness, deafness, dumbness, and many physical defects and sicknesses like Covid 19. Are we not responsible for the causes and  remedies of these challenges? We have also seen that God is unhappy with Israel and he divides the kingdom. Are the Israelites not responsible for the punishment leading to God’s actions against them? Let us assume responsibility for whatever we do and not just blame others and blame God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to create a better world in accordance with your plan of creation. 


THE LOVING PRESENCE OF GOD: “They asked Him to lay His hands upon him”. In the early days when the electric bulb was yet to be well-known, a famous city dweller had a guest one evening from the countryside. After seeing to his immediate needs the friend was lodged in the upper room with the bulb burning bright. The host wished his guest good night and left the room. In the morning the host noted that his guest had not had a good night. “You did not sleep well, did you?” asked the host looking at his sleep-starved eyes in the morning. The guest however, desiring to conceal his ignorance responded, “No not at all! All was right”. Many a times, like the guest, we fail to acknowledge that we need God’s help. In our readings today, it is only when the people acknowledged the power in Jesus and brought the deaf man that Jesus was able to act. The people accepted to see God travelling in their midst and sought his aid. How many times do we fail to acknowledge God in our midst and seek His help?


HEALING TOUCH OF CHRIST: Jesus had a reputation as a healer. People flocked to him because they needed him. He shows great care and sensitivity in his encounter with the deaf man. Perhaps, the deaf person was put away form the society, but Jesus opens out his world again. Nobody is excluded from the healing touch of Christ. This deaf man being a foreigner was suffering from isolation and was also excluded by his physical impairment. Jesus’ action initiates a new era. He doesn’t heal from a distance. He comes close enough to touch him. He indeed does all things well. The prophet Isaiah had forewarned the people that the occurrence of cures and miracles of all kinds would be the sign that the age of Messiah had dawned. “He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped” (Isaiah 35:4-5). The people saw in this miracle the fulfilment of the Jewish expectation that the Messiah would make the deaf hear and the dumb speak.