Gospel: Mk 7:31-37
Again, Jesus set out: from the country of Tyre he passed through Sidon and, skirting the sea of Galilee, he came to the territory of Decapolis. There, a deaf man, who also had difficulty in speaking, was brought to him. They asked Jesus to lay his hand upon him.
Jesus took him apart from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears, and touched his tongue with spittle. Then, looking up to heaven, he said with a deep sigh, “Ephphata!“ that is, “Be opened!“
And immediately, his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about it; but the more he insisted, the more they proclaimed it. The people were completely astonished and said, “He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.“
“God’s gift of freedom“
Man stands superior to all of God’s creations because man alone has reason. Man’s “likeness“ to God is particularly manifested in the precious gift “FREEDOM“ given to man. Man alone knows the will of God. Man alone has the conscience–a knowledge of the order set by God, Creator–and the freedom to obey or disobey God’s will. And man clearly knows that there are consequences to disobedience! Adam and Eve knew the Divine command and the consequence of disobedience.
There is great beauty in the freedom God gave to man. But there was equally great danger in it as well! Through this primordial trial of man God wanted to know whether man would exercise his freedom well in choosing to follow God’s command or also in freedom choose to disobey. Alas, Adam and Eve failed the test!
So often too, like Adam and Eve, we use our gift of freedom in the wrong way. We choose to disobey God’s will. Our conscience shout to us telling us “Do not do evil! Do good!“ Immediately, our conscience accuses us of sin when we have not followed its promptings. Like Adam and Eve, who immediately saw that they were naked, we, too, know in the depths of our being when we have sinned! Before God we cannot hide; before God, like Adam and Eve, we stand naked!
We are reminded today to be attentive to our conscience, that place in our depths where God speaks to us and reveals to us His Divine will. We know that we are subject to temptations always, and so we must always pray “Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.“