Ephphatha! (“Be opened!”) –Mark 7:34
How does God open our ears, our eyes, our minds to Himself?
It begins with reality, the existence of something rather than nothing. Nothing is what there would be, if God had not made all that is. Boring? Nothingness would be beyond boring. Super Bowl XXXV was boring. Nothingness would be immeasurably worse.
So: Clue Number One which we have received from God about Himself: The fact that anything exists at all.
But this is just the beginning of how God opens our ears, our eyes, our minds to Himself. The existence of reality, made by God—this actually gives rise to a question or two from us. Okay, Creator: You exist. You made everything. You deserve our praise and gratitude for Your magnificent work. Your infinite unseen power and beauty must be the source of all this. But, may we ask, Why? Why make this universe?
And while we are at this: Why make creatures that can do evil? Why make life so precarious? Why allow all the pain and suffering that we see all around us?
We don’t mean any disrespect when we put questions like this to the Almighty. We don’t necessarily expect answers. But the Lord can hardly begrudge us our honest questions. After all, He made us to be curious creatures. We long to know the truth. Which brings us to the next way in which God opens our ears, our eyes, our minds to Himself.
It began in the beginning. This whole human business of reaching our minds out to the Creator—it began with the first human beings, the original parents of the whole human race. The good Creator situated them with health, with peace, and—above all—with insight into God, the goal of life. The Lord laid down one law, which our First Parents were to obey as His happy children. He had likewise laid down a law for all the glorious angels, who were to be His servants. To submit to God meant gaining insight, an interior vision of the eternal truth.
But the Creator had made the angels free to choose to serve Him or not, just as Adam and Eve likewise were free to obey or disobey. “Being a servant—that’s for the ignorant!” thought the proud Devil. “Obedience is for losers!” the Devil suggested to our First Parents.
The Devil would have had a point, if the service involved serving someone ignorant, or obeying someone who did not will only good. But to serve the all-knowing God is to become wise, and to obey the all-good God is to reign supreme.
Anyway, we know what happened. Our First Parents let themselves be deceived. The human race fell into a state of profound ignorance about God. From the Garden of Eden, we could have seen many great and beautiful things about God, because we would have lived in a realm without death and darkness. But after the Fall, all those splendid truths passed behind a cloud, as it were. We became short-sighted, spiritually. To this day, we children of Adam and Eve get born into this cloud of confusion and ignorance about God.
So God, Who always loves, initiated the grand course of the history of our salvation. From among all the scattered peoples of the earth, He chose one man to be the forefather of the nation He had chosen to receive His personal communiqués. The nation of _____________ began in the person of ____________________.
The time following the call of Abraham involved extensive preparations for the personal advent of God—as a man, as a Jew. The Lord taught His chosen people to look for their Messiah and Savior from among their royal clan. The prophets continually tried to draw the people closer to God.
As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council put it:
The plan of salvation, foretold by the sacred authors and explained by them, is found as the true word of God in the books of the Old Testament. (Dei Verbum 14)
The Fathers went on:
The principle purpose to which the plan of the Old Covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming both of Christ, the universal Redeemer, and of His kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy, and to indicate its meaning through various foreshadowings. (DV 15)
In other words, all that came before—from Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Isaiah and Jeremiah, to John the Baptist—all of it was directed to the definitive revelation of the face of God. When all the necessary preparations had been made, the Messiah was conceived of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, and He became a man.
The Son, the eternal Word: He enlightens the human race. To see Him is to see the Father. Again, quoting Vatican II:
Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through His whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed: that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal. (DV 4)
More to come on this.
Answers: Israel, Abraham