The man cannot hear and he cannot speak clearly.
The Lord Jesus takes him aside, away from the crowd,
and says, Ephphatha: “be opened!”
Jesus touches his tongue, and “he spoke plainly.”
While Jesus was more than willing to heal people’s eyes and ears,
that wasn’t his primary mission.
His main purpose was to heal their relationship with his Father,
and also the relationships between one another.
In a word: heaven.
There is no heaven for us if we are not united with God;
Nor can it be heaven if God’s children are not united with each other.
The healing Jesus gave this man was a prelude to spiritual healing.
That’s true for us, by the way.
We ask for physical healing. We may or may not receive it.
What we need most of all is healing of our soul.
So when the priest is called to give the sacrament of anointing,
There is always a spiritual healing – I’ve seen it many times –
Even if there isn’t the physical healing.
And here’s something else that happens: the person who is ill,
when I anoint him or her, will often see a recovery,
but it only lasts for awhile.
And we might wonder, why would God do that?
One answer could be:
to give the sick person the opportunity
to heal his or relationship with God, or with family.
Again, that is something I’ve seen.
So to reiterate: as important as physical healing is,
Jesus is always aiming at healing our souls,
healing our relationship with God – and then with others as well.
Let’s put ourselves in this Gospel story.
What if that man was you?
Are your ears open?
How much conflict is because we’re not listening?
Some of us are good at telling, but listening not so much.
Is this you? When you’re in a conversation,
and someone else is speaking, are you really listening?
Or, are you working out what you’re going to say next?
That’s me: I am a talker. I have to work at staying silent.
If you’re like me, here’s a challenge for you.
It’ll drive you nuts, but it will do you good:
The next time you’re in a conversation with a coworker, or your spouse,
or anyone, make a point not to respond!
Instead of saying something smart, just nod.
Instead of arguing, say: “I will think about that.”
Let the other person have the last word!
And instead of jumping right in, try saying nothing at all,
and wait until you’re asked what you think?
I know what you’re afraid of: No one will ask!
Yeah? And if you’re like me, there’s a message:
Maybe we’ve been talking too much.
Now, some of us are the opposite.
We don’t talk, even when we need to.
You may think your wife or husband knows what you think,
but don’t assume. Tell her. Tell him.
When is the last time you told your husband
something you appreciate about him?
Husbands, when did you last do that for your wife?
A few words of appreciation are amazingly powerful.
Words like “please,” “thank you,” and “I was wrong”
are amazingly healing.
I don’t often tell jokes in a homily, but I will today.
There was a guy who became a monk;
and the rule was, no one ever spoke, except once a year,
you would would meet with the Superior,
and you get to say just two words.
So twelve months go by,
and the new fellow comes to meet with Father Superior,
who asked for his two words: “Bad food.”
With that, he went back to his cell.
Another twelve months goes by,
and he comes back, and his two words are “Hard bed.”
The Father Superior nods, and sends him back to his cell.
Now another twelve months goes by,
and when he guy returns a third time, he says, “I quit.”
And the Father Superior shook his head sadly, and said,
“I can’t say I’m surprised. All you do is complain!”
If you only got two words, what would they be?
What will people remember you saying?