From the Parish House

This Sunday’s gospel is the passage from Mark chapter 7:31-37.  It is the story of Jesus healing a man who was both deaf and had an impediment in his speech.  At the centre of the text, Jesus touches the man’s ears and tongue and says to him Ephphatha, which means “Be opened”.  Like so many of the gospel writings, this story has multiple levels of meaning.  Healing stories in the gospels are never just about physical healing.  There is always more going on than meets the eye.

The man in the story has no name.  He is everyone.  He is me and he is you.  He is man and he is woman.  He is adult and he is child.  He is old and he is young.   And to all, to every human person that lives Jesus calls out “be opened”.  Be open to hearing and be open to speaking.

And when you think about it hearing and speaking are things that we do every day.  We spend much of our lives listening and speaking to one another.  Is there something different about the listening and speaking to which Jesus calls us?

Listening with gospel ears can tune us into the world in different ways.  On this Sunday when we celebrate the first Sunday of Season of Creation we are called to listen to the cry of the earth and its people.  This listening can come about in us in all manner of ways.  Sometimes it is in images and words other times in song and silence.

I had a ‘be opened’ moment when I was captured by the words of this week’s communion hymn in our online Mass.  The hymn is called Touch the Earth Lightly and it was written by New Zealand liturgical-music composer, Shirley Murray, who died in January last year.  It made me think about the earth and its people in a fresh way.  Here is the text:

Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently,
nourish the life of the world in our care,
gift of great wonder, ours to surrender,
trust for the children tomorrow will bear.
We who endanger, who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures who live,
we who would foster clouds of disaster,
God of our planet, forestall and forgive.
Let there be greening, birth from the burning,
water that blesses and air that is sweet,
health in God’s garden, hope in God’s children,
regeneration that peace will complete.
God of all living, God of all loving,
God of the seedling, the snow and the sun,
teach us, deflect us, Christ reconnect us,
using us gently and making us one.


Listen to Touch the Earth Lightly

By Fr Brendan


Parish Priest


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Ray King

Thanks, Father Brendan. I really enjoyed this From the Parish House.

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