My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Listening to the Gospel about Jesus healing a deaf man, who had also troubles with talking, one could think that Jesus was a good otologist and a good speech pathologist. He was also cheap. To be honest he offered his services for free. However it was cheap for the people who came to him it wasn’t cheap for him. He paid an ultimate price: the crucifixion. Our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t only do good things for people, he gave himself, and he gave his life for them. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said: ‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ His giving away his life fills every page of the Gospel and finds its culmination on Golgotha.
When I was reflecting on this Gospel I thought about St Maximilian Kolbe. We know that he offered to die in place of another prisoner in the German death camp of Auschwitz during the World War II. However many of us, who admire him, don’t know that Fr Maximilian was a passionate evangelist. Before he died to save his fellow prisoner he worked tirelessly to spread the Gospel. First in Poland where he established a Franciscan convent where he published a magazine called the Knight of the Immaculate. His passion to make Jesus known and loved was so contagious that within a few years the convent had 800 Franciscan brothers working together to spread the Gospel. However Fr Maximilian couldn’t be satisfied. He wanted to take the message to the people who knew nothing about Jesus. That’s why he and three other Franciscans went to Japan. They had no money. They knew no one in Japan. They didn’t speak Japanese. However in a month after their arrival they published the first issue of the Knight of the Immaculate in Japanese.
When I reflect on Fr Maximillian’s sacrifice in the concentration camp I believe it wasn’t an accident. His decision to give his life to save a fellow prisoner was the fruit of his many years of being immersed in the Word of God. Fr Maximillian didn’t simply publish a religious magazine. He lived the message of the Gospel first. It was his daily bread.
My Dear fellow Catholics! Most of us here present don’t have a problem with hearing. Those who do they have got a hearing aid. However even the most sophisticate hearing aid will not help to hear God. I believe each one of us needs to repeat ‘Ephphatha – Be opened’ daily. Prophet Isaiah can teach us this lifestyle of striving to be attentive to what God wants to communicate to us: ‘The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.’
I would like to say ‘Ephphatha’ over the young people in this church, ‘Be opened’ to Jesus’ invitation to give your life to him. I know that you want to make your life meaningful so ‘Be opened – Ephphatha’ to Jesus. If deep down, in your heart, you are hearing his voice calling you to serve him as a priest, a brother, a nun or a missionary don’t panic. Pray, have prayers said for you, talk to someone you trust. Look at Jesus who teaches us that happiness is not about making most of our life but it is about giving all our life to God and others. That’s is life.