Today’s Gospel from Mark which narrates how Jesus opens the ears of the deaf man and loosens his tongue reminds me that when I baptise a child, after the lighted candle has been entrusted to the parents there is what is called a rite entitled Ephpheta. I touch the ears and mouth of the child with my thumb and say: “The Lord made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” This is an optional rite in England and Wales but during this time of pandemic it has had to be omitted because it involves physically touching the child.
Our ears and mouth have been blessed at baptism. Do we keep our ears open to God’s word? How well to I read and ponder the Scriptures? Am I a good listener? What sort of tongue do I have? It has been blessed to spread the good news of peace, love, prayer and joy. Does my tongue spread harmful words or words that build up. St Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians: “Guard against foul talk; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers.” We thank the Lord for sanctifying our ears and mouth. Let us pray that our ears be open to what is good but closed to what is harmful. Let us pray that our gift of speech may never be abused in profanity and scandal. May our tongues be organs of faith hope and love.