COR THOUGHTS 270: Jesus Wants Us to “Be Opened”


Of all the accounts of healing presented in the Gospels, this Sunday we hear one of the most visceral. It’s almost – no, it is – shocking in its physical intimacy. Jesus takes a deaf man with a speech impediment away from the crowd. Apparently, what was about to happen demanded privacy. He “put his finger into the man’s ears.” And if that weren’t enough, Jesus then spits and puts his finger in the man’s mouth, touching his tongue! I don’t know about you, but I’m not so fond of strangers probing my body like that. Who is this Jesus and what on earth is he doing?! He’s looking to heaven, he’s groaning, and he’s exclaiming, “Ephphatha!” which means, “Be opened!” He wants our bodies and our hearts to “be opened” … why? So he can enter. Yes. That’s Jesus’ deepest desire: to enter our bodies with his body, our hearts with his heart. It’s called Eucharist. And to be entered, to be filled by Christ with all the fullness of God (see Eph 3:19) – that’s the deepest desire of our hearts. It’s a spousal desire. It’s a spousal mystery. The Church is the Bride; Christ is the Bridegroom. If we want to be healed of our maladies; if we want to be filled with Infinite joy and love and life, we must “be opened.” As Pope Benedict XVI observed, this small word, ephphatha, “sums up in itself Christ’s entire mission” (Sep 9, 2012).