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February 14, 2020

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

Mk 7: 31-37

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 

Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Stretched outside our comfort zones

If we read today’s Gospel closely there appears to be a contradiction: to the deaf and mute man Jesus cries out “Ephphatha” or ”be opened”, then tells him not to tell anyone.  We hear that response often from Jesus to those whom he has healed. What are we to make of this? In all of our lives in some way Jesus calls us to “be opened”, to stretch, to reach out of our comfort zones and find him. We also in doing so are called to make sure we are achieving God’s purpose, not ours. 

Saints Cyril and his brother Methodius, whose feast day is today, stepped out of monastery life to translate the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy.  Yes, my family name is translated to “Christmas” in Slovak! In what way in Jesus asking you and me to “be open” and led to a new, unknown and perhaps uncomfortable place?  

—Jim Bozik is a permanent deacon at St. Peter Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC, the Jesuit parish in the Diocese of Charlotte.

Prayer

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Troy Bengford

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