"Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened."
Mark 7:34

At our Lord’s command the man who had a speech and hearing disability was healed and given a new lease of life. "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened." Recognising the miracle that had taken place the said "He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."

Throughout the Gospel Jesus is pictured as one who brings new life to persons who in one way or another are suffering and unable to enjoy life. He confronts the forces of evil that give rise to the suffering and says to sufferers “Eph'phatha," "Be opened." Ephphatha is really a command to be healed of your infirmity. It initiates a process which gives new life and releases the individual from the chains that keeps him or her prisoner of circumstance. As prisoners of circumstance we lose our freedom to live a full life, we are deprived of our independence, we are under the control of another.

Mentally, physically and spiritually, all of us share the fate of the man in today’s Gospel who is deaf and unable to speak. Literally, we might not be deaf and dumb, but figuratively we are deaf and dumb because we are prisoners of circumstances which are preventing us from living a full life, robbing us of happiness, hindering our growth, limiting our spiritual development and denying us our full humanity as persons who are made in the image of God.
‘Ephphatha” is Jesus’ message to all of us this morning. It is a command to all of us to free ourselves from the negatives and disabilities that are present in our lives and thinking which are barriers to a true and meaning life. It is a call to be opened to new ideas and not to have a closed mind as we go through life; it is a call to walk by faith and not by sight believing that God will always give us new life.

"Eph'phatha," be opened, speaks to us as we embark on an experiment which I have named, A NEW EXPERIENCE, A NEW BEGINNING.  This  new ministry will bring the parish together for one mass only on Sundays followed by a period of bible study and reflection. It is a new form of ministry which seeks to strengthen our spiritual lives as we devote time to the study of God’s word. A new form of ministry which asks us to make a sacrifice of time so that we can be nourished spiritually and mentally. A new form of ministry which will help us to better use our resources of time and talents. Anything that is new has its challenges and fears. Anything that is new often meets some kind of resistance. Very often we try to justify without good cause why what is new cannot or will not or should not work. Today’s Gospel says to all of us who are present have no fear about A NEW EXPERIENCE, A NEW BEGINNING.  "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened." It is God’s way of calling the parish to a new life, he does all things well.
Spiritually, "Eph'phatha,” in an invitation to all to open their lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If our lives are closed to the Holy Spirit we shall remain prisoners of sin and our freedom and independence will be compromised. All of us need to hear the command “Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened."  "Eph'phatha,” be opened to God so that he can work in our lives and transform them. "Eph'phatha," be opened to the Holy Spirit so that we can truly enjoy life. "Eph'phatha," be opened to God so that he can healed our bodies diseased. For those of us who believe that our lives are not going anyway spiritually it may  be a case that we are at a standstill because we are refusing to give heed to the cry "Eph'phatha," be opened to God.

Many persons are disabled and experience difficulties in life as a result of unfortunate circumstances; some caused by our actions and some over which we have no control. We do not have to go through life disabled. Fear, anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, worry, envy, malice and the like are some of the disabilities that create uncertainty and prevent us from enjoying life. "Eph'phatha," ‘be opened”, is an invitation from God to allow him to heal the uncertainties that cause us to be disabled.

"Eph'phatha," is all about healing and restoration to life. "Eph'phatha," denotes a process of healing what is broken and needs to be restored to wholeness. Within this context of healing the local industrial climate needs to hear the cry "Eph'phatha," be healed. The deafness that is giving rise to the difficulties between employers and employees as is seen in the disputes with LIME and the UDC need to be healed. All the parties involved must listen to our Lord’s command, "Eph'phatha," be healed. We who are in broken relationships of any kind must also listen to the command "Eph'phatha," be healed. Relationships that are not healed rob us of peace and true happiness. Personally, some of our lives need to be healed by the brokenness caused by sin and evil.  And so to all of us present whose lives are disabled by sin Jesus says to us "Eph'phatha," be healed of your sins.  In many instances healing requires forgiveness, reconciliation, love, understanding, compassion, sympathy and at times compromise. The message of "Eph'phatha," is really a call to us who are serious about pursuing healing in our personal lives and community to be forgiving, loving, compassionate, sympathetic, understanding and agents of reconciliation. What our Lord said to the deaf man he says to us this morning, "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened."

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