“HE DOTH ALL THINGS WELL”
Saint Mark 7. 31-37
12th Sunday after Trinity: 18 August Anno Domini 2013
Father Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
O Lord, open Thou my lips. And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
Satan closes, locks, binds, and imprisons. Satan separates, isolates, and makes solitary confinements.
Adam had perfect vision and hearing in Eden. He could see God, hear God, and sing forth with angelic harmonies his praises for his Lord and God.
Satan, sin and self destroyed all of this goodness.
Bad news would be to tell a blind man that he has to cure his own blindness. Sad and tragic information would be for a deaf person to learn that he has to heal his own deafness. A mockery of Grace would be to inform a prisoner in maximum security lock-up that he must decide, choose, and cooperate to be free.
But the Evangel is Christ Crucified; Jesus for you. For God so loved the world that…”departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came…”
The Good News is that He had His followers, disciples and saints bring to Him one that “was deaf, and had an impediment of…speech.”
Great story, these seven verses from Saint Mark. But you know (don’t you?) that most blind people stay blind until they die and that most deaf people stay deaf and mute until they die. Most cancer victims are not cured and others with catastrophic and esoteric diseases die from their illnesses. You can’t fix stupid so goes the saying; but YOU can’t fix brokenness either. And even the Lord Christ, Who did fix the unnamed man, did not heal everyone in Israel, and those whom He did restore, still died. This miracle is not about temporary glory, ease, or victory for the moment. Jesus is Christ Crucified. Jesus’ work of obedience and atoning sacrifice on the cross is too important for just temporary cosmetic improvement. Christ Crucified is for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Ephphatha (be opened) is in fact the Gospel of Christ Crucified. Ephphatha is to be opened, loosed, freed, restored, bought back, liberated, and at Peace with Father, Son + and Holy Ghost. Ephphatha is the loving father embracing the prodigal and Jesus letting the sinful Disciples embrace Him on Easter eve.
Ephphatha, be opened, is the fiery cherubim sword-wielding gate being torn down, being extinguished and cooled in the soothing waters of baptism—spit…touch[ing] tongue—stuttering and stammering gone forever, paradise and communion restored. Ephphatha is the Son speaking and opening the ears, and loosing the tongues of Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Balaam, Samson, Elijah and Elisha. Ephphatha is the Son speaking and opening the ears from death for the Widow of Nain’s son, Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus of Bethany.
Ephphatha is not simply healing your physical wounds and corporeal functions; it is restoration to home, family, Father, peace, and joy.
Ephphatha is not sitting in a pew and hearing, observing intellectually a story of light—of light in a laser focused and narrow beam going from point “a” to point “b”—from Christ to the deaf mute two millennia ago. Ephphatha is being handled by (and then handling in response) being bathed by (and then daily + washing) being draped (clothed), fed, given to drink by (and then constantly attending the Eucharist)…i.e. being surrounded, embraced, immersed, marinated, compassed, by Christ Crucified—the Word—The Word made flesh. Jesus is that surround-sound, the still small Word that is also the uncreated Light of Life and immortality. Jesus speaks to each and every one of you: Ephphatha, be opened, and you are; it is!
Ephphatha is when the thrice-fold + pouring of the Word’s water and blood in the Baptismal Flood washed onto your head—washing away sin and washing on/in Jesus! Ephphatha is when His servants speak His absolving forgiveness in His opening and loosing stead! Ephphatha is when you come to His altar and receive Him in His Body and Blood; “take eat, take drink, the true Body, the true Blood” is simply Ephphatha, be opened.
You will get sick one day and die. You will lose the ability to see, to hear and to speak one day and you will die. But the only real death, the only real bondage to silence, darkness, aloneness, was already endured for you by Christ on the Cross. Your only significant decay and death was when you were in/with/and under Christ Crucified in your Baptisms. It was in that watery Ephphatha that you were loosed and open and the strings of Satan were cut. You will die one day but it will be no death, but rather a further and more glorious opening to the realms of heavenly splendor.
Celebrate this, your victory and triumph, in He Who is your liberator and Brother; for He does all things well. Come to the banquet and receive Ephphatha.
“O Lord, open thou their lips. And their mouths shall receive Thee—and then, show forth Thy praise.”
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost