One of the most effective defense mechanisms that we have to protect us from all sorts of hurts in life it simply shut ourselves off from the world in general or from the source of the possible hurt if we can identify it in the particular. However, there is a danger in ‘turning one’s self off to the world’ in that we may also ‘turn off’ the way in which blessings may be coming to us as well! Defense mechanisms are good and necessary devices that help us to maintain our sanity in the busyness of our lives, but they can be over-used and even abused to the detriment of our own growth and well-being.

Today we hear Jesus speak into the life of a person who has both a hearing and speech impediment. Jesus tells the ears to be opened and the tongue to be released so that the man can have his full faculties restored to him. The symbolism of this healing is immediately apparent when we look at in terms of the man’s ability to receive and promulgate the Gospel. Without the full use of his ears, it is very difficult for the man to receive the Good News, as he is not able to hear the Gospel being preached. His ability to receive the Gospel will be reliant upon his other senses. At the same time we can also discern that it will be very difficult for him to proclaim the Gospel if he has a speech impediment. The healing that Jesus gives him enables him to enter fully into the Kingdom of God, as he is now able to hear and respond to the proclamation of the Gospel, and then to minister the Good News to others by proclaiming it in both word and deed.

There is a very beautiful use of this scriptural passage in the Sacrament of Baptism when the priest prays the following prayer while touching his fingers to first the ears and then the mouth of the person abut to be baptized: May the Lord open your ears to hear His word and your mouth to proclaim His name. Unfortunately, this prayer is no longer in common usage in some places. I think it should be restored to the Sacrament as it speaks very clearly of the gift of baptism on one hand and the responsibilities on the other. Let us ensure that we do not lose these two essential understandings of baptism and that we choose to open up our lives to God fully both to receive His gifts and to share them with others.

How often do I open up my life to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit so that I can be challenged to repent if necessary and identify areas of my life where I need to grow?

Lord Jesus, you lived your life in total openness to God the Father. You received all that He had to offer you and gave out all that He asked you to share. Help me to follow your example more closely each day.