22 Aug 2021
In the Gospel for today, they bring to Jesus one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They ask healing by Jesus on this poor soul. Jesus puts his fingers into his ears, spits on the ground, touches his tongue - all outward, physical acts – then Jesus also looks up to heaven and says “Ephphatha, be opened”. Jesus miraculously heals him “and straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”
Jesus’ miracles—indeed, all of God’s miracles, seek to restore us to what we should be. He wants us to be truly open to what His will is for us. He removes every roadblock to our understanding out of His great mercy. May we ever be thankful!
For us to be truly open, we must be ready to receive and give. What we have received--the gifts of God in our lives--we must be ready to give to others. “Open your hearts”, St. Paul tells us (2 Cor.7.2).
If we open ourselves for others, we are modelling ourselves on our Lord who gave Himself totally for us on the Cross. He expects nothing less from us. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
This isn’t what the world is telling us, a world that puts self first, a world that turns its back on the needs of others, a world of deceit--finding value only in what we can grasp for ourselves. Jesus’ way—our way here at Good Shepherd and throughout the Anglican Church Worldwide—is to be truly open “Ephphata” and thankful to the Lord who has saved us.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need; We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant Archbishop Hartley for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted, or distressed, in mind, body, or estate especially those for whom our prayers are desired: the suffering of Haiti, Venezuela, Sudan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and other places--and those suffering from the Covid virus, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, shootings, fires, volcanoes, the threat of war and revolution, genocide, intolerance, and abuse. That it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities; giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Bishop Edwin Tompkins