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As A Flower Turns Toward The Sun

He said to him, 'Ephphata!' (that is, 'Be opened!'). At once the man's ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak plainly
Mark 7:31-37

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Sermon Week Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 7:34-35


There are times when we yearn for peace and quiet away from honking horns, screeching brakes, blaring transistors, throbbing washing machines and jarring jets. We treasure such periods of rest for our sensitive ears. But do you know how difficult it would be to find a moment of peace and quiet if our ears were only a bit more sensitive? If they were but slightly more powerful, we would be tuned into the chatter of rats. Were our ears three times more powerful, we would be tuned into our own heart beats and digestive processes. Were they five times more powerful, we would hear what bats were saying. And as the din grew louder, as more of nature's secret sounds assaulted our sense of hearing, the possibilities for peace and quiet would decrease proportionately. If our ears were exposed to all sound, the roar would be intolerable; deafening. In nature's grand design, there are sounds which are not intended to be heard with the naked ear.

Jesus lived in a society that placed a high value on the sense of hearing. Few people could read. Moreover, reading materials were costly and rare. To acquire knowledge, people depended largely on word-of-mouth. They were accustomed to listening and memorizing. Thus, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to the crowd, "You have heard" this or "You have heard" that, and then goes on to make His own point. There were no textbooks, no pamphlets, no news releases. To know what Jesus was teaching, one had to listen.

We don't know much about the deaf man of today's Gospel whom Jesus cured. We do know that his infirmity had placed him in a position of isolation. Not only was he cut off from the sounds of the world and the voices of his fellow men, but also, under Roman law, a deaf man was classified as mentally incompetent. To this victim of physical infirmity and social ostracization, Jesus speaks: "Ephphata!" (that is, "Be opened!") and, "at once, the man's ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak [...]

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