September 6, 2015 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 6, 2015 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time



By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in San Jose and a Vicar General
of the Diocese of San Jose. Email him at


Ephphatha–Be opened
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 6, 2015

Once there were two friends who were walking through a busy city street with the usual hustle and bustle of city life; cars coming and going, people talking and rushing to and from work and people coming in and out of the stores. Just then, one of the friends stopped and said, “Shh. Can hear that? I can hear a cricket. The friend said, “You cannot hear a cricket in the middle of the city! Do crickets even live in the city?”

She says, “Shhh shhh, I can hear it.” She steps forward about 10 feet, pulls back some of the petunias and the impatient flowers and there was a little brown cricket, rubbing his legs together, making that beautiful cricket sound.

Her friend says, “That’s amazing. How did you hear that in the middle of the busy, city traffic?” She says, “Well, it all depends on what you are listening for.” She reached into pocket and said, “Watch. Watch this.” And she threw a quarter onto the ground. Everyone within 20 feet stopped and looked

about to see where the quarter fell. And she says, “See, it all depends on what you are listening for.”1
What do we listen for? Or maybe put differently, what have we become deaf to? What in our life have we become deaf to —the goodness of God in our life? Do we hear and wait for the sounds of something different? Whereas God has put lots of things in our life: signs and sights that are a blessings to us.

In today’s gospel, we hear of a man who is both deaf and mute and the Lord heals him. He is aware of both his deafness and his muteness but upon the Lord saying, “Ephphatha (be opened!”) he proclaims with great joy that he can now speak and hear.

Maybe the Lord is also coming to us to say, “Ephphatha; be open.” But we must hear differently; we must be ready to listen carefully at what is it we are hearing? Are we hearing the goodness of God has put in our life? It is often not just what we hear but the “way” we hear it.

For example, do we hear our children screaming here at Church as a “bothersome noise” or do we hear in it as a wonderful “sound of life” in our community? Do we hear in the sounds of our parents’ words as “complaints” or do we hear of a “caring parent” who is guiding us on our way to learn in life. Do we hear in the words of others as criticism or as opportunities to grow? It is not only “what” we hear but it is the “way” we hear it. May we listen for the “crickets” in the busyness of our life and acknowledge the gift of God’s presence in the midst of those around us.

(Endnotes)   1     Adapted from “Connections” (Mediaworks, Londonderry, NH: September 6, 2009)