And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers in 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.” (Mark 7:33-34)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Ephphatha. Be opened.” This is what happens when Jesus, the Word made flesh, speaks. Jesus’ Word opens. A little water in the form of spit united with His creative, does-what-He-says Word, and, “Open sesame!” The deaf man could hear. The mute man spoke. Jesus opened this man’s ears and loosed his tongue. Jesus’ Word opens.
Today the Church remembers and gives thanks to God for St. Patrick, missionary to Ireland. The same Lord who opened the deaf-mute man’s ears and mouth, also opened the mouth of St. Patrick to declare the praises and Good News of Christ crucified and risen to the Irish people. And there, too, God opened their hearts and minds by sending His Word and Spirit to create faith in Jesus.
Our Lord does the same thing for you as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish or not, or whether or not you’re wearing any green at all. Our Lord has worked his Ephphatha for you, too. Jesus’ hands, feet, and side were opened on the Cross to save you from sin, death, and darkness. Jesus opened His grave on Easter Sunday so that your grave will one day be opened again when He returns in glory. Jesus opened heaven for you when you were baptized by water, Word, and the Spirit. There, just as He did for the deaf-mute man, Jesus opened heaven for you.
O Lord, open our lips to rejoice with St. Patrick: Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger. “I bind unto myself today The strong Name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three” (“I Bind unto Myself Today” LSB 604, st.1). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, you chose your servant Patrick to be a missionary to the Irish people who were wandering in darkness and error. You bound unto them the trinitarian name through Baptism and faith that they might dwell in the light of Christ. Bind unto us this same strong name of the Trinity as we remember our Baptism and walk in His light, that we may come to dwell at last in the eternal light of the presence of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.