Some months ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of an ENT specialist. There were already a few waiting for their turn. I began to turn the pages of a magazine which was lying there, when an elderly couple walked in. They sat down, and the woman leaned over to her husband and said in a loud voice, “Don’t forget to get your hearing aids from me. I have them in my purse.”
Her husband moved a little closer and said, “What did you say, dear?”
The lady repeated louder, “Don’t forget I have your hearing aids in my handbag. Put them before you see the doctor.”
“I can’t hear a darn thing you’re saying,” said the frustrated man looking around, “My hearing aids are in your handbag.”
The problem of hearing
Statistics say that the hearing power of the present generation has been reduced to a lower level due to noise pollution and other reasons. Even if the ears are okay, only a few people pay heed to what is going on around them. People who walk see much more of their surroundings than those who travel by bike, car or bus. Most of the people nowadays walk along with their iPods plugged in, their mobile phones glued to their ears. Minds of most of the people are far away from their actual surroundings. Their ears hear the sound. But they do not perceive.
Jesus curing deafness
Hearing is a source of knowledge. If it is lost, it leads to many problems. We find an interesting narration of Jesus healing a deaf and dumb man given by Mark, in his Gospel. He describes this incident in detail how Jesus heals making use of the external methods. He also elaborates the preparation for this healing miracle. The man is taken out side from the crowd, Jesus puts his fingers in the deaf man’s ears, and he spits and touches the man’s tongue and gives the command for the healing in his mother tongue Aramaic. “Then, looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him, “Ephphetha,” that is, “Be opened. And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly.” (Mark 7: 33-35)
Ephphetha message to us
This is a special message to us all. It is not only a call to open our ears but also to open all our senses. It is not only to heal our physical deafness but also to a symbolic ‘spiritual deafness’. That is what we see in the Gospel. It was a call to the disciples of Jesus to listen to his words and pay heed to them. In the next chapter of the same Gospel, we see that Jesus mentions this openly. “Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that don’t see and ears don’t hear?” (Mark 8: 17-18) This is a healing command for all of us to listen to his words and remove our impediment in loving and serving others.
Let us whisper Ephphetha
Time has come to realize our impediment; our deafness and dumbness. Are we fed up with the words of Jesus, deaf to hear his Words any more, dumb to witness to the Spirit of Truth? Then let us whisper, “Ephphetha! Be opened!” to each part of our body and every avenue of our existence.
Be opened, my eyes, let me see everything beautiful and The One Who made it so. Let me see the evil lurking behind structures and my role in them.
Be opened, my ears, let the symphonies of Nature resound in the recesses of my soul. Let me hear the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.
Be opened, all ears, let the cries of the poor and downtrodden disturb our smugness.
Be opened, my mouth, to sing the wonders of God and announce the Good news to all.
Be opened, all mouths, to speak against injustices and untruths that silence the innocent poor.
Be opened, my heart, to love and serve every one irrespective of caste, creed, country, language or any other barrier.