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  • Writer's pictureBishop Mesrop Parsamyan


St Mark summarizes the entirety of Jesus’s mission with one word, Ephphatha (Be Opened - Mark 7, 31-37). This word is so significant that the evangelist does not render it in Greek but in the original Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, and it has remained that way in the Bible. Here is the story.

Jesus was traveling through the region of Galilee. When he came into the district of the Decapolis, they brought to him a man who was deaf and who had an impediment in his speech, so that he could heal him. Jesus took him aside, touched his ears and tongue, and then, looking up to the heavens, with a deep sigh said, "Ephphatha," which means, "Be opened." And immediately the man began to hear and speak fluently.

This is the historical, literal, meaning of this word: this deaf mute, thanks to Jesus’ intervention, "was opened." But we all know that closure of man, his isolation, does not solely depend on the sense organs. There is an inner closing, which covers the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the "heart." That is what Jesus came to "open," to liberate, to enable us to fully live our relationship with God and with others.

Jesus became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others.

Therefore, let us hearken to the message of Ephphatha; let us receive Jesus with open hearts and minds. Let us acknowledge our need for his healing touch, and let us invite him to revive us again knowing that he “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20) Let us be opened, let us Ephphatha!

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