Vatican City, 9 September 2012 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus at midday today. Benedict XVI focused some remarks on what he described as "a word which, in its most profound meaning, sums up the whole message and work of Christ. ... That word is 'ephphatha', which means 'be opened'".
The Pope recalled how Jesus was crossing the region known as the "Decapolis", between the coastal area of Tyre and Sidon and Galilee, when He was presented with a deaf man to heal. Christ touched his ears and tongue and, looking up to heaven, pronounced the word 'ephphatha'. Immediately the man was able to hear and speak. "This deaf man, thanks to Jesus’ intervention, 'was opened'", the Holy Father explained. "Before he had been closed, insulated, it was very difficult for him to communicate; his healing was an 'opening' to others and the world, an opening that, starting from the organs of hearing and speech, involved his entire person and life: Finally he was able to communicate, and thus to relate to others in a new way".
"Yet", the Pope added, "we all know that man's closure and isolation do not depend solely on the organs of sense. There is an inner closure which concerns the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the 'heart'. This is what Jesus came to 'open', to liberate, so as to enable us to live our relationship with God and with others to the full.
"That is why I said that this little word, 'ephphatha' - be opened, sums up Christ’s entire mission. He became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and so he would learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others".