Passages: Isaiah 13.2-11; 2 Corinthians 7.4-16; Mark 7.31-37
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Եսայ. ԺԳ 2-11; Բ Կորնթ. Է 4-16; Մարկ. Է 31-37
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
“Often held but never touched, always wet but never rusts, often bites but seldom bit, to use me well you must have wit. What am I?” This children’s riddle speaks about our tongue. And while it is only a children’s riddle, the final words hold a deep truth – “to use me well you must have wit.” Today with social media commenting, instant messaging, text messaging, etc. all of us have the boundless ability to use our physical and or digital tongues” to express opinions, thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
However, sadly, too many people today do not have or use wit, and we do not tame our tongues in how and what we say to each other or to ourselves. Just because we have a tongue, it does not mean we know how to use it.
In the Gospel today, we meet a person who had a tongue but is physically unable to speak, “And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they sought him to lay his hand upon him.” (v.32) And we know that Jesus heals this man by saying Ephphatha which means be opened. However, what is opened? His tongue, his ears? Is Christ giving this man the ability to use his tongue or is it something else? In the Gospel of Mark 8 and John 9, we read of how Jesus heals blindness. In Mark 2 – Jesus heals the paralytic by forgiving his sins. In Matt. 8 – Jesus heals a leper. Etc. we all know of the multitude of stories where Jesus heals the sicknesses, ailments, the physical, spiritual, and mental brokenness of humanity – however it is only in this instance where we read of Jesus healing by saying be opened. If in the 1st century, a mute person could not express themselves easily; today, with technology they can. Does that mean we don’t need Christ? Absolutely not.
It means we need to understand what it means when Christ Jesus says, “be opened.” My dear brothers and sisters, when Christ heals us and breaks the chains of our sins it is not merely a physical healing that takes place but a much deeper and profound healing. In the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians we read of how St. Paul is proud that our suffering, our pain and grief has led us to repentance. No, this doesn’t mean that St. Paul is a masochist, who takes pride in our pain. Rather, St. Paul sees that through grief, our eyes, ears, tongue, and senses have been opened and now we understand that only with Christ our Lord can we find true hope, healing, peace and relief of that pain.
When Christ heals with the command Ephphatha, He is not only physically healing our ailment but is opening our spiritual tongue and ears to turn us towards repentance and a deeper healing. The man in today’s story I am certain, had seen plenty of doctors and healers – none which were able to heal. If anyone of us became deaf or mute or if we had a child who had these ailments, the first thing we would do is what? Go see a doctor. And with today’s technology and medicine, or even sign language, deafness and muteness could be overcome. And yet, Christ healing the tongue and deafness of this man did much more.Healing in Christ Jesus, being opened by Christ Jesus is much deeper. Because our prayers are not incantations, and Holy Communion is not an Advil which we take to get what we want or to take the pain away in life. And we know that in this life, whether we are Christian or not, we get sick, we suffer, we are born with shortcomings. Yet, true healing takes place when we live in Christ. When we have questions and inquiry about our faith, when we come to Church and ask those questions, when we repent, pray, fast, and trust in God, then true healing will take place. A healing that will open our eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, hands, and feet to speak, act, and do that will of God.
My dear’s God has blessed us with many tools and has given us the instructions on how to use those tools to bring blessing and healing into this world. Through sin, sickness, perversion and lies have polluted and blinded us from seeing and hearing the truth. Our tongues have been bound and we have been left in pain and suffering. However, if we come with faith to Christ our Lord, when we repent, He will take hold of those chains break them and command, Ephphatha – be opened, be healed, be free. May we use that freedom, and healing to build each other up and not tear each other down. Use wit, love, and patience to tame our tongues in the words and ideas we share with each other. Let us come to Christ and ask Him to heal us, take our weakness and say Be Opened. May the life we live therefore, glorify our Heavenly Father, the Son and Holy Spirit Amen!