10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.77)
Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’ (Mark 7: 31-37)
At the heart of today's message there is a small but very important word. A word that sums up the whole message and the mission of Jesus. Mark writes it in the language that Jesus spoke, Aramaic, so that it is even more alive to us.
Jesus took the deaf man aside, touched his ears and tongue, and then, looking up to the heavens, with a deep sigh said, "Ephphatha," which means, "Be opened." And immediately the man began to hear and speak fluently. That word of Jesus is a word to us as well.
This deaf mute, thanks to prayer of Jesus, was opened to speak. Before he could not communicate, but now there was a new world open to him and he was able to relate in a new way. The man was isolated due to his disability and now he was set free to communicate with others.
Each one of us can be closed and disabled in the way we relate to God and to others. There can be an inner closing, which covers the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the "heart". That is what Jesus came to liberate, to enable us to fully live our relationship with God and with others.
"Ephphatha – Be opened," sums up the mission of Jesus. He came so that women and men, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to their heart, and to be able to be in communion with God and with others.
How is God calling me to be open to his word of love and healing today?
5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.
Next Reflection: Susanne Timpani Sunday 15th February, 2015