Fr. Mike’s Daily Homily for Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II (1)

Fr. Mike’s Daily Homily for Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: “Ephphatha!” Be opened!

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Friday February 11 2022
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. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.”
Jesus heals a deaf man who had a speech impediment. The man is not mute. He can still speak, but with much difficulty. His speech impediment is caused by his deafness. He does not hear the spoken words of other people, and so he grew up without hearing any human words to imitate from. Indeed, deafness also causes partial or total muteness. Hearing problem causes speech problems as well.
There is a story about three elderly friends. Being old, they already all have some difficulties with their auditory faculties. One day, they went out and played golf. During the course of the game, one of them, noticing the strong wind affecting the flight of the ball, said, “It’s windy, isn’t it?” The second friend said, “No, it’s Thursday.” The third one replied, “Yes, me too! Come on, let’s have some beer!”
Nowadays, we see an increasing number of conflicts in society and in families. In many occasions, these are always caused by a breakdown in communication. This breakdown is usually caused by man’s inability and unwillingness to listen to one another. Too much selfishness is what drives people to ignore others, to refuse to listen. As we know, selfishness is the direct opposite of love. It imprisons people within their cozy little world, closing their eyes and ears to the voices and plight of others. In their selfish desires and ambition, they choose to remain closed, refusing to open themselves and reach out to others. This is why there is so much misery in the world.
Pope St. John Paul II said, “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”
Hence, the words of Our Lord to the deaf man with speech impediment are also addressed to us: “Ephphatha!” Be opened! We all need to have our ears opened so that we can hear and understand the message of Jesus. With open ears, we listen to the voices and pleas of others in their sufferings and pains. Then, having heard and listened, we overcome our speech impediment and become proclaimers of the Good News of Jesus, not only in words, but especially in deeds as we respond to the cries of those in need. We hear and listen. We speak. We act. And we love.
This is beautifully illustrated in the Rite of Baptism. There is one part of the rite wherein the priest touches the mouth and ears of the newly baptized child or person and says, “Ephphatha!” Be opened! After receiving the sacrament of Baptism, the person is now the child of God and follower of Christ. He receives the mandate from the Lord to proclaim the Word of God. Thus, he has to be open – eyes, ears and heart – in order to listen to the Lord’s message and proclaim it in word and action.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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