Jesus, by entering the pagan region of Decapolis, ventures beyond his “comfort zone.” He then takes the deaf-mute aside, and touches his ears and his tongue. Jesus next prays to the Father, intoning, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.” The ears of the deaf-mute are opened; the knot in his tongue is untied, and he begins speaking correctly.  This Gospel not only relates a miracle, but also beckons us to “be opened.”   

Often we are “closed in” on ourselves, being inhospitable or inaccessible, staying in our own “comfort zone.” Maybe our family is closed in, or our parish, our community, our country. This Gospel calls on us to “be opened” ourselves―to each other, our family, those we work with, those in our parish and community, and those beyond our “comfort zone.”

As I reflect on the word, “Ephphatha,” how will I “be opened” today to zealously proclaim the Word, and to serve the needs of others?

―George P. Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Chicago Chapter. He and his wife, Dorothy Turek, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and four grandchildren.