“CHRIST OPENS OUR EARS AND ENTERS WITH LIFE”
Saint Mark 7. 31-37
12th Sunday after Trinity: 7 September Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
“In the beginning was The WORD…and the Word was God.” [Jn. 1.1] “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God said ‘let there be light’” [Ge. 1. 2 – 3]
The Holy Trinity departed from being all and came to create the coasts of all the cosmos. The Lord came to the great sea and divided it from the land and placed a garden in the midst towards the east.
He who has ears to hear let him hear. Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
One cannot speak and sing unless one can hear. One cannot hear if one is dead. One cannot hear if one has dead ears—suffocated and stuffed with ‘old Adam wax;’ impacted shut with “I.”
Saint Mark’s recorded events are really all about Holy Baptism aren’t they? This pericope appointed for the 12th Sunday after Trinity is all about Jesus coming and claiming one of His own lost sheep—a lamb so terrified and tied down by the deafness of sin and unbelief that no bleating of pain much less Chants of Kyrie could be emitted from a bound and captured tongue!
Jesus departs from the areas of Tyre and Sidon which are north of his home area of Galilee. The word Saint Mark uses is oriwn which literally means “region” but which so felicitously the Holy Spirit has the English Divines translate as “coasts” in the Authorized Version. Coasts always signify water…rivers, lakes, oceans, and Baptismal Fonts.
One doesn’t choose or decide to hear any more than one chooses to be born or to have parents. It is given. It is a gift. It is Grace. Christ is the Giver of all good things and it is very good to be able to hear. One might have been able for 33 years to actually see Jesus with the eyes—if one were in the right place and the right time. But one, everyone, the world, can HEAR Jesus through His Words of Holy Scripture and through His Word made flesh in Supper and in Holy + Washing!
You are all broken and wasting away because of sin. The wages of sin is death. Your uncleanness in thought and deed comes from the residual deafness still inside you. Your sins with words (cursing, swearing, lying, gossiping, and killing) come from a tap-rooted muteness anchored in the soil of sinful self.
The deaf mute is like the palsied cripple who was brought to Jesus. The lame man didn’t come to The Lord but rather was carried on a “death bed,” which became a resurrection pallet when Christ touched him with the Word of Life. That man was carried by four friends, four believers, four Baptismal Sponsors emblematic of the Four Evangelists themselves. Likewise the man with the impediment of speech was brought by his believing and trusting friends, his own Godparents “and they bring unto Him one that was deaf…”
Jesus did for him what He did for you in the Sacrament of Water and Word. To be adopted means one is pulled out from a world of no connection and no family and placed into a NEW FAMILY and new body, identity and name. The Church, Jesus’ family is the “ecclesia” which means “out of” the masses. “And He took him aside from the multitude.” Jesus, to be sure, healed this man from his physical brokenness by giving him perfect hearing and perfect speaking. But what Christ actually did was that He Baptized the man into Himself. Jesus made the man His own brother, child, friend, and disciple.
What once happened to you…when you were a little sinful pagan? You were bathed first (hopefully) in the Word of Christ for 9 months as your parents sat with the “in-utero-you” in Jesus’ “mouth house”…your ever-forming ears hearing the distant Gospel echoes and rumblings of Hallelujahs and Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. You were bathed in His Body and Blood as your mother Communed on the very flesh of God in The Supper. And then…brought, carried, “and they bring unto Him” you were presented at the coasts of a font where Jesus sighed over you with love and affection and bathed you with Water and Word…word from His mouth, Holy spittle of Salvation: Ephphatha. You were opened for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost…who brought you more Jesus…Who made His Father your Father. With The Spirit making you His temple your speaking was now plain for your sins were loosed as well as your tongue. Your singing was beautiful and you’ve been publishing it, with your fellow Royal Priests, ever since. He does all things well. He makes the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the unbeliever to believe, the lonely to be placed into a Family, the hurting to be comforted, the dead to be raised to Immortality, the naked to be clothed and the hungry to be fed.
Your ears have been opened, cleared, cleansed, sterilized and sanctified by the Blood and Water, by the fingers of Jesus. Do not place the wrong things into them. Repent from hearing evil and listening to false doctrine. Fill your ears with the Church’s song, Psalter, and prayers. Your tongue has been freed from the devil’s muzzle by Jesus. He has given you the gift of tongues—i.e. the New Testament of His Person and His Work, for you and the rest of the flock. Repent of the things that have come out of our mouth unfitting of a Christian. Confess Boldly Christ Crucified for the forgiveness of sins and speak lovingly and hopefully to all your neighbors—to all the world. You speak and wear The Gospel on your lips which flows from The Gospel in your new heart of Christ.
Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by The Word of God. O Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
Recently there was a beautiful and magical YouTube video that made the rounds on Facebook amongst many confessional Lutherans. There was a short video of a little 18 month old boy who, after being born deaf, heard words for the first time. He was naturally caterwauling and fidgeting while the physician fine tuned the exterior sound device connected to the implant…but the minute the implant was turned on and he heard his mother’s voice for the first time an indescribable smile came instantly to his face and his whole being lit up…yeah, it’s just like that only infinitely better. You may “fall asleep” in Christ with Bach’s Messiah playing or maybe with your Pastor and friends singing the Nunc Dimittis at your bedside one last time…but, BAPTIZED INTO JESUS, you will wake to Christ’ smiling eyes speaking into your ever-Ears “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant; I love you, welcome Home!” And you will respond and speak plain: “My Lord and My God.”
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost