Mark 7, 31-37
As he was again leaving the region around Tyre, he went through the country around Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the middle of the region of the ten cities of the Decapolis. They brought to him one who was deaf and who spoke with difficulty, and asked him to lay his hands on him. And he led him apart from the crowds by himself, laid his finger in his ears, and moistening his finger with saliva, touched his tongue, and looking up to the heavens, sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphata, be opened.” His hearing was opened and the impediment of his tongue was removed and he could speak properly. And he commanded them not to say anything to anyone. But the more he forbade it, the more they widely they proclaimed it. And the people were deeply moved by this event, and said, “He has changed all to the good: the deaf he makes to hear and the speechless to speak.
6th Trinity August
August 28, 2016
Mark 7, 31-37
A wall separates two spaces. A doorway is an opening between the two. And the door itself opens or shuts. It regulates the flow between them.
Our senses are the doors between the inner life of the soul and the outer life of the world. In sleep, the doors of the senses are closed. Upon waking, all sensory doors open. They will remain open or close, depending on where we choose to direct our attention. Being absorbed in the activities of the world, all doorways are open; being absorbed in the inner life can close the doors of the senses, making us oblivious to noise, for example.
The deaf mute’s sense organs for hearing and speech had become permanently closed. An exchange of words had become impossible. His friends bring him to Christ, the Logos, the Living Word. At Christ’s intimate and loving touch, at His fiery word – Ephphata! Be opened! – the closed doors open. The man can hear and speak again. He can fully engage with the world.
At the same time, Christ has opened the same doors in the crowd. And though He tries to tell them not to proclaim the event far and wide, they will talk. They represent that in us which cannot yet regulate our speech, which cannot yet recognize when to close the door.
Christ said of Himself: My I AM is the Door. He is that capacity in us that is able to choose to open or to close, and to know when it is time to do which. Both capacities, opening and closing, are necessary for the soul. It is only the extremes – always open, or always closed – that are unhealthy. Christ, the Door, helps us to know when we are to open and when to close.
The deaf mute’s experience of Christ is expressed in a poem by Antonio Machado:
dream they called my name…
It was the good voice,
the voice I loved so much.
“—Listen: will you go
with me to visit the soul?…”
A soft stroke reached
up to my heart.
“With you always”… And
in my dream I walked
Down a long and
Aware of the touching
of the pure robe,
And the soft beating of
blood in the hand that loved me.*
*Antonio Machado, translated by Robert
Bly, from the book
Times Alone: Selected Poems of Antonio Machado (Wesleyan Poetry in Translation)