Saturday, September 05, 2009

Homily / Sermon for 23rd Sunday of the Year

Jesus said: Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And the man’s ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. (Mark 7:34)

Often, when people try to explain the miracles of Jesus they point to the symbolic aspects of the story. And indeed it is true they often have a broader meaning than the original story.

The story comes after disputes between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, when it becomes clear that they are deaf to the truth of the Gospel. In the rite of baptism, there is a ceremony, rarely used in England and Wales, when the priest touches the ear and mouth of the baby and says ‘Ephphatha’, be opened. It is a prayer that the newly baptised may hear the Gospel and speak it. So - some say - this is a symbolic story not a miraculous hearing.

But such interpretations miss the point. This story is not less than a miracle, it is more than a miracle. It is not only symbolic, but more than this.

The story makes clear to us again that body and soul, heart, mind and daily life, are all one. Physical healing is not a symbol of salvation, but it is salvation.

Why are the gifts of hearing and speech so important to human beings? They are gifts, like all gifts, which can be used or abused, but we need them. And those who do not have them, still find ways of receving communication and communicating themselves, because to seek, to hear and to live the truth is part of what it means to be human. We can survive without speech and hearing - but to thrive we must communicate.

Let us pray that our ears may be opened to the truth, and that we may speak it clearly.


For Bidding Prayers (Intercessions) click here

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