Be Opened

We should note that our Lord touched the ears and tongue of the disabled man who was to be healed, he took him and led him aside from the crowd.

The first hope of salvation for anyone is to desert those with vicious habits, and the commotion of the crowds, and so humbly bow his head to receive the gift of healing. We must not in any way suppose that salvation is possible as long as one is not afraid to cling to his disordered habits, to be delighted by pointless words, [or] to be impaired by disturbing thoughts.

But there lies in store for a person who, with God’s mercy and aid, has changed the disturbed ways of his former life, who has conceived in his heart the inspiration of divine grace, who has learned from the word of heavenly teaching to confess the true faith, to secure immediately the longed for joys of good health. Hence it is appropriate that, after our Lord separates the disabled man from the crowd, after he puts his fingers into his ears, after he touches his tongue with his spittle, there is added: And looking up toward heaven he groaned and said, ‘Effeta,”which means ‘be opened’. And at once his ears were opened and the ligament of his tongue was loosened. It was proper that as he was about to heal the disabled man, our Lord looked up toward heaven and groaned. This was to indicate from where healing was to be hoped for, and with what zeal for compunction and tears it was to be sought after and reached out for. He looked up toward heaven and groaned because he grieved that we, whom he had created to possess heavenly things, were cast far away, [entangled] in earthly matters. He looked up toward heaven and groaned to suggest to us, who had withdrawn from the joys of heaven through being gratified by earthly things, that our return to these joys must be accomplished by groaning and sighing.

Saint Bede the Venerable (735) was an English Benedictine monk, a biblical scholar, and the first English historian.

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