About This Be Open Lesson Plan
This lesson plan asks us to be open to God. Do we suffer from spiritual deafness? Are we able to hear what God is speaking to us? And are we able to communicate God’s message to others?
Start by playing Silent Sorting. This is a twist on the game where people arrange themselves by their birthdays. An extra rule thrown in makes it a little more challenging! See the complete instructions at Silent Sorting Game.
After the game, ask a few questions.
- Was it difficult to communicate silently?
- How did you overcome this challenge?
- What did you like about silent communication?
Read the scripture passage:
Mark 7:31-37 (Jesus heals a deaf man) – the Gospel Reading for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
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.”Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Reflect on Scripture
In this gospel passage, Jesus heals a deaf man. Jesus commands the man’s ears to be opened. This man had a physical problem which prevented him from hearing or speaking. Think how difficult communication must have been for him.
God also wants to speak with us. Like the deaf man, we might have some issues which make it difficult for us to understand God.
Sometimes our deafness is due to how busy we are. We just don’t have time to listen to God. We brush Him aside as we hurry on to our next activity.
Sometimes our prejudices and preconceptions prevent us from hearing what God is speaking to us. We don’t listen because we think we already have the answers. We are not open to what God is trying to communicate with us.
At other times, we seem to have a speech impediment, like the deaf man. We know what God has to say, but we don’t pass it on to those around us. God’s Word makes it to our ears, but we are too timid or afraid to speak it to others.
- What are some things which prevent you from hearing God’s Word?
- What are some barriers to speaking God’s Word to others?
- How can you be more open to what God is trying to say to you?
- How can you let Jesus heal your deafness?
Remember that God loves you and wants to direct you along the right path. This week, ask God what He wants you to hear.
Try to actively listen to God. Spend some time in prayer. Read scripture or just sit in silence. Notice God speaking to you through nature. Just try to be aware of where you see God in your life and consider what message might be found there. Receive that message openly, without stress or anxiety. If you are not sure what it means, just keep it in your heart, trusting that God will reveal more when the time is right.
Adoration or Prayer
If time permits, spend some time in adoration or prayer before the tabernacle.
Resources and Background Material
This practice will help you hear the voice of God when reading Scripture.
How do you pronounce Ephphatha?
Just pronounce the phph like ff.
ef- fah- thah
The emphasis is on the first syllable.
Ephphatha – Bishop Barron
This homily from Bishop Barron for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B focuses on how we can be deaf to the Word of God. We need Jesus to do this for us also!
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