5th Friday in Ordinary time, February 11, 2022
1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19; Ps 81:10-15; Mk 7:31-37
If someone walked up to you and said, “I am going to create massive division in the world, but you will gain from it,” what would you do? That is exactly what the prophet Ahijah said to Jeroboam when Ahijah cut up his cloak and gave Jeroboam 10 of the 12 pieces. Ahijah literally split up King Solomon’s kingdom giving Jeroboam 10 of the 12 tribes. A great gain for Jeroboam, but it created a great division in God’s chosen people. There were two tribes split out, and only one of those would remain with King Solomon for the sake of his son, David. Thus started the big division of God’s chosen people. The 10 tribes of the north, and the two tribes of the south. Unfortunately, the tribes of the north refused to follow Jehovah, and out of one of the tribes of the south, the lineage of David, came our savior. Even the psalms cry out to the tribes of the north to obey God, “There shall be no strange god among you.” And, “I am your God, hear my voice!” But they did not listen and went astray.
Then, here comes Jesus, healing those who asked. “Ephphatha!” Jesus exclaims,” Be opened.” While this may seem like a simple healing, it is way more than that. It is Jesus trying to show God’s people He is the one they need to see. But the people did not see it and exclaimed Jesus to be a great healer. The people were totally amazed at what Jesus had done. Jesus tries to tell them not to tell anyone, yet the more He does, the more people they tell. But they did not understand the significance of the event and how much division would occur later because of what they did not understand.
We seem to have similar issues today. There are a large number of people who are now choosing to turn their backs on God. And a small(er) number of people willing to stay true to their faith. It seems we now have our own 10 tribes of the north, and our two tribes of the south. Are we part of those of the north who are not hearing or seeing the healing power of God? Are we turning away to false gods and being led astray? Or are our ears being opened with a great proclamation of Ephphatha where we hear and see the word of God made flesh in Jesus? I do not think any one of us has the true answer to why so many are turning away. But I do know this, out of the smaller tribe came our Messiah, the one who came to save us. It is no different today, and out of the smaller group of people left, we must stay true to our faith and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord. Using that healing power Jesus instills in all of us and shouting out “Ephphatha!” Be opened and hear the truth.