Jesus 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. (Mark 7:33-35)
In this day and age, communication skills are very important. To succeed, we have to be good at P. R. We could say that the beginning of the 21st century is the Age of Communication Skills.
Right after Holy Baptism, the priest or deacon touches the ears and lips of the newly baptized and says, “Be opened.” The minister says, “May the Lord open your ears to hear His Word and your lips to proclaim His praise, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Creator became man to give us the most important communication skills. He took our human nature to Himself so that we could communicate with Him.
Let’s consider the gift that Christ has given us by opening our ears and loosening our tongues. To try to understand it, we have to go back to the beginning.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had special blessings. They enjoyed some of the angels’ communication skills.
The angels see God; they hear Him with crystal clarity; they perceive Him. Whatever He wills, the angels know it, and they do it.
The angels also know how to praise God. The heavenly angels’ praise of God is perfect, because they truly know the One Whom they praise. His glory fills them with love for Him, and they sing out in perfect canticles and sublime hymns.
In the Garden, Adam and Eve could not see God like the angels do, but they could hear Him. As St. Augustine put it, “God used to speak to the first man as He speaks to the angels.”
God’s commandments were clear. “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Everything is for you to eat and enjoy, except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Because our First Parents could hear God so clearly, they also could have known how to praise Him. And they could have known how to love each other.
In fact, Adam and Eve’s only jobs were praising God and loving each other. God provided everything they needed. There was to be no labor, no hardship, no struggle and toil. Neither was there to be any misunderstanding, miscommunication, or stubbornness. All communication was set up by God to be clear and smooth. Adam and Eve simply had to start praising and loving.
But they did not do it. They listened to the tempter instead. As a result, the human race became deaf and dumb.
To praise God is to speak the truth, and to speak the truth is to praise God. But the human race lost touch with the truth. We became liars who don’t know truth from fiction. We became flatterers, sweet-talkers. We forgot how to love each other and learned how to take advantage of each other.
A person can have the greatest communication skills in the modern world–and still be a liar and a fraud who does not know how to praise God and live in the truth.
The most important communication skills are the ones that put us in touch with God. We need a communication medium more powerful than the internet, cable, satellite, Morse code, cellphones, and snail mail all put together. We need prayer.
Christ came to the earth to give us divine communication skills.
Christ became the man Who listens to the Father. He became the man Who speaks the truth. He became the man who praises the Almighty Father with perfect praise.
During His earthly pilgrimage, Christ’s ear was always open to the voice of the Father. The Lord Jesus declared: “I did not come to do my own will, but the will of the Father Who sent me…My food is to do the Father’s will…Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
At one point, the Lord sang out: “Father, I thank thee.” And another time: “I praise you, Father.” At the Last Supper, Christ gave the Father thanks and praise. On the Cross, Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.”
Then He gave His life for us. On the cross, He showed us how to love each other. He showed us what each of us is worth, what every human being is worth.
Christ’s ears and lips were open, and He will open ours, too. We all have to do what we need to do to communicate in this world. But first and foremost, let’s cultivate the communication skills of Christ.