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Doctrines & Morals

Ephphatha - Be Openned

Ish 35:4-7, Jam. 2:1-5, Mk 7:31-37. On this Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, the Church challenges us to reach out and touch some of the children of His Father, especially those most in need of our help without discrimination. Restoration of sight to the blind and the power of speech to the dumb and the power of hearing to the deaf were part of the messianic expectations to those besieged by suffering and persecution. For the Israelites, it was a period of crisis that could be likened to ours, not just for the world at large but particularly to us, as the Family of God. The people seemed to have lost hope, before God sent prophet Isaiah to restore their hope. In today's first reading, God sent the prophet to encourage the downcast. The times were bad, as sin had darkened the world in the contemporary time, but God will come to save and avenge the wrongs His faithful ones have suffered. He will reward them for their fidelity in the face of oppression and opposition, where the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like deer and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.

It is very glaring that we are living in a time where virtuous living seems to be the abnormal way of life whereas vices are praised with the loudest of voices. Hence, the problem of our time goes beyond that of being deaf to the physical sound of things but much deeper to being deaf to the voice of virtue and God-founded values. Hence the sound of ‘Ephphatha’ we need to hear in our times is not just to open our physical ears, for that would be the greatest limitation of the power of God, but also our inner ears to hear what the Lord says to us and to loosen the ligaments of our tongues to announce what we have heard to everybody. This was the ‘Ephphatha’ Jesus speaks of to the deaf man in today's Gospel. Beyond the restoration of the man’s power of speech, this man received, together with those around him the grace to recognise the divine power at work in Jesus Christ. He was able to see the values Jesus stood for and embodied in His person and also the boldness to speak about God “He has done all this well, He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.” By virtue of our baptism, our ears have been opened and the ligaments of our tongues loosened. The problem we have is that we allow this persecutive and deafening noise of vices to silence us into confusion and uncertainty and uncharitable empathy for evil and the destruction of our families and societies by injustice and exploitation of the poor and the vulnerable. In the words of James in today's second reading, we have been pushed into the use of standards that demeans the values we profess and should defend. The Word of God is charging us once more to be the voice of the voiceless, to stand against injustice, to speak and witness in words and deeds the Good-news that we carry for “all that is necessary for the triumph of sin and vice is for good men and women to keep mute and do nothing.”

May the touch of Christ bring us the docility to listen to the word of Life and the courage to pronounce what we have heard in word and deed! Amen!! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!

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