What do these two simple words from Mark’s Gospel beckon you to do? These very words were spoken by Jesus to the deaf man with a speech impediment as Jesus healed him of his afflictions. So, what is that might need to be opened in us?
Perhaps it is our hearing – or our refusal to hear what we need to hear to be loving disciples of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is our mind that needs to be open that we might become more compassionate to others or maybe our hearts need be opened that we might learn to love or even accept love from another. So often upon reading or hearing Scripture one word or phrase can beckon something in us and touch us in a way that invites us to contemplation of the Word. To do so, is to communicate with God. It is prayer defined: talking to or listening to God. And often when God communicates it is realized in our hearts and minds, not with words, but with thoughts and emotions. Do you recognize God communicating with you? Are you open to the message, taking time to ponder it, to wonder what it all means? To do so, is to pray. Prayer is at the heart of all we do as Christians for it is what sustains us as we live our lives in union with Jesus and his Church. The Eucharist is the grandest of all prayers that we as a Christian community pray and when we participate fully in the Eucharist, we are sure to have an experience of being opened by what we hear and what we experience as the Body of Christ. We are then sent forth into the world to glorify God by the way we live.
Are there other areas in our lives or within us that need to be opened? Could I or others benefit from my being more open in accepting all people, rich or poor, intelligent or mentally challenged? What about those whose work ethic differs from mine – might I be more open to receiving them and working with them without judgement? What about the abuser or the thief or the bully? How is God calling me to be open to them or to better understand the path they walk? These are tough questions that challenge God’s people. They challenge us to reflect upon ourselves in preparation to love and care for the people with whom we share life. We will not always understand exactly what our role is and we may or may not be able to affect change in another person. What we can affect is our ability to grow in compassion and care, and in that we can be opened to loving more deeply and more completely all of God’s people. And with faith in Jesus Christ, we can be assured he is with us, we need only be opened!
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC