In every baptism ceremony, there is a beautiful ritual towards the end where the priest or deacon marks the sign of the cross on the ears and mouth of the child (or adult) and accompanies the gesture with a prayer. This prayer is known as the ‘Ephatha’ prayer and comes directly from the Gospel this Sunday where Jesus heals a man who could not hear and therefore could not speak. As the priest of deacon marks the sign of the cross, the following prayer is made: ‘May the Lord soon open your ears so that you may hear his Word and your lips so that you may proclaim his praise to the glory of God the Father’. What is preventing us from hearing God’s Word with all its power and force? Perhaps it is noise or distractions. With so many voices competing for our attention, whose do we listen to? And what about our power of speech? Do we use it to praise God, to build up and encourage? Or do we use it to tear down, to criticism or blame? These are questions worth considering as we remind ourselves of that time when our ears and lips were marked in Jesus’ name on the day we were baptised.
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