Whenever a fellow servant in my community before would ask me if I was open to the possibility of entering the seminary, I would always reply “I can still serve the Lord even if I am not a priest.” But my answer was more likely because I did not want to leave the comfort of earning money for myself, enjoying good things in life with my family, and having the “freedom” to do whatever I want. Back then, I was busy establishing myself and possessing material things, thinking that I may have all the best things the world could offer. Deep inside my heart, I knew there was a little voice calling me to the priestly vocation, but I chose not to listen and had always pretended not hearing it. I was deaf because I was imprisoned and enslaved by my dreams and goals in life that I wanted to achieve. Replying “yes” to that call meant burying all of these.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man and proclaims to him “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” I remember that moment when I opened my heart and mind to the possibility of entering the seminary and underwent the application process—a new world and a fresh perspective have opened for me as well.
Now that I am already in the seminary, “Be opened!” is the same admonition I hear from Jesus. The Gospel challenges me to open my ear always to hear God’s voice in my formative journey so that as I am formed by hearing, I could speak of His Good News to other people.
By: Sem. Ericson Y. Austria
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”