September 6, 2015 — Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel from Mark includes an extraordinary occasion when Jesus cured and healed a man who had been unable to hear or speak. In the process of healing him the Lord said one word — Ephphatha, a word that means “Be opened.” In a homily given in the fall of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI stated: “At the heart of today’s Gospel there is a small but very important word, a word that in its deepest meaning sums up the whole message and the whole work of Christ. It is the Aramaic Ephphatha.”
The Holy Father went on to point out that many are inwardly deaf to the world around them and remain mute at a time when the world is in need of spiritual guidance. The Pope’s meditation on that Gospel and that one important word also included a reminder that the Lord speaks to each of us in a language of love, and calls us to be baptized disciples.
The man in the Gospel had been isolated and insulated from the world around him. We may tend to be that way at times also. Jesus calls us to see our vocation in human society, and to strive to be good stewards of that vocation. In closing his homily that day, Pope Benedict prompted us what our response should be: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3: 10)