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What does God need to ‘open’ in your life?

From the very beginning of our lives, we are invited to experience the healing of Jesus given to the deaf and dumb man in today’s Gospel. At infant baptism there is a ceremony called the “Ephphatha” rite. As the lips and ears of the one baptized are blessed with the sign of the cross, the celebrant says, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. May he touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” 
 
As we’ve all discovered, this is not so easy. Our ears continually need the opening of God’s touch so that we might hear God’s voice in the noise of daily living. The same healing is needed for our tongue and lips, that we can speak words of praise and thanks to God and kindness, love and compassion to others rather than bitter, angry, hurtful words of spite and sarcasm. 
 
Praying for this ongoing healing is critical to our growth in the spiritual life. For as we hear God’s voice, we come to experience the truth of God’s ever-present love. As our ears are opened and our tongues released, we become active partners with God in the re-creation and re-ordering of the world. The gifts of God’s healing love become the energy and life that we can bring to all we touch in our daily lives. This is the foundation of discipleship and the very heart of “doing God’s will” – the daily living of life committed to Christian stewardship. 
 
We can broaden this reflection beyond just our hearing and speaking. What have you closed yourself off from, what needs to be “opened” in your life? What if you truly took to heart the words of Jesus, and allowed him to free you from everything that’s holding you back? Imagine if our minds could be opened in such a way that all our biases and prejudices melted away. Imagine if our eyes could be opened to see God around every corner and in every person. Imagine if we could be freed from our fears, enabling us to step out into the unknown and experience life to its fullest.
 
Father Dennis Hanneman is a retired priest of the archdiocese. Contact him at dahanneman@archomaha.org.

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