Gospel Reflection – Friday 5th week in Ordinary Time (9 February) – Be Opened
Fr Paul Gooley reads today’s Gospel from Mark (7: 31-37) in which Jesus touches the ears and tongue of the man who was deaf and mute and cures him, saying ‘Ephphatha!’ which means ‘be opened!’. Fr Paul says the roundabout route taken by Jesus from Sidon to the Lake via the Decapolis region is often used to claim that the evangelist Mark did not know the Holy Land all that well. On the other hand, the reliability of the tradition behind the story is confirmed by the Aramaic word ‘Ephphatha’. The Gospel tradition we have been given comes to us from Greek-speaking lands, which makes it all the more remarkable that there remain little nuggets like these of Jesus’ own language. Jesus’ activity as he goes around ‘doing all things well’ is the coming of God into the world. Jesus is the sacrament of God. In him God is active in the world, bringing peace, healing and joy. In him people meet and experience God. His gestures of putting his fingers into the man’s ears and touching his tongue with spittle are affectionate ways of showing that God is physically at work in him. In a modern hygiene-conscious world such gestures might be frowned upon. But if we are truly acting as the members of Christ’s body in the world we cannot hold back. Fr Paul invites us to reflect on today’s Gospel Lesson…from time to time (like Christ) we, too, need be involved physically and totally in helping others. We, too, can bring Christ’s healing in countless simple and courageous ways.