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Faith Daily | 12 February 2021

PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Five

Father of all,

who gave your only-begotten Son

to take upon himself the form of a servant

and to be obedient even to death on a cross:

give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,

that, sharing in his humility,

we may come to be with him in his glory;

where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen APBA p535

GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 31-37

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus* ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Glynn Holland-Leam

Yesterday we read together one of the more controversial or puzzling moments in the gospels: uncertain and seemingly derogatory words in the mouth of Jesus, a mother at arm’s length, and healing from great distance. So it seems jarring to immediately follow such a moment with its polar opposite – this is intimate, close, and features healing by touch and the sigh of Ephphatha.

This is the Good News broken open for us, for humanity and in humanity. One of the strongest temptations when we followers of Christ imagine Jesus is to only see the glorious light and wonder we see in the Transfiguration this Sunday, a saviour who is so wondrous we can forget how real and present he was and is.

When he spoke, his lips formed words; when he grasped the hands of the sick he pressed his own palms into theirs; and when he healed the deaf and gave speech he touched his fingers to his tongue and touched their ears and mouth. This was and is the humanity of Christ. Is it any wonder then, that faced with such humanity and divinity in the one person those who witnessed these things couldn’t help but spread the word of this Jesus of Nazareth?

FINAL PRAYER: Jan Berry, Sheffield

God, we praise you for your love in Christ,

challenging all our definitions,

overturning all our stereotypes.

Wondering, amazed, in Christ we see you:

the king of the universe washing dirty feet;

the creator of heaven and earth, hungry, cold and tired;

the saviour and healer, wounded with the pain of the world,

the almighty lord, found with the weak and vulnerable.

God, help us to be strong in the love and liberty of Christ

so that we can follow the same pattern of service:

with the inner security that frees us

from the drive to seek reward or recognition;

with the confidence to give those whom we serve

the dignity of voicing their own needs;

with the patience that does not try to impose your will

or our own,

but works and waits for your justice.

In the name of Christ.


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