Reflection: 9th September 2018

A Reflection for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 7: 31-37 ( )

He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (Be opened!). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

 Today’s Gospel is an extraordinary scene of healing. When I read it, I had a sense of wanting to be there. What must it have been like to witness a man hearing and speaking clearly for the first time? The utter expression of joy that must have been written on his face would have been a scene to behold.

However, on reading the scene again, I wondered about my own ability to be open. No matter where one finds oneself in today’s world, there have been many changes.  In Ireland, we are no longer an island nation, but are very much part of an inter-connected world. In this new world, we are asked to seek God in the everyday life.

As we head into the winter season, we will be called to be open to many situations and, for example, to be open to people who are ‘homeless’ or who are ‘seeking refuge’. However, we know that there is a growing popularity in remaining ‘closed’.  Borders and security are front and central themes for governments in the face of the struggle for life of hundreds, even thousands, of people.

The Gospel calls us, as people of faith, not just to be open to the needy and the marginalised but to respond to them with loving kindness.

As individuals and as a faith community, we need to hear Jesus’ command in the depth of our hearts to ‘Be Open’. It is only then we will hear and live the ‘Good News’.

Encouraging us to keep open, John O’Donohue, the Irish poet said:

There can be no growth if we do not remain open and vulnerable to what is new and different. I have never seen anyone take a risk for growth that was not rewarded a thousand times over.

Mr. Ronan Barry – Ronan works with the Identity, Faith & Mission Office attached to Spiritan schools in Ireland. His areas of involvement include engagement with school charities, ethos-development, pastoral care, religious education and sacramental preparation.