Liturgy: Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost - Ephpheta: Be Thou Opened

August 21, 2022
Source: Priory Denver

In today's liturgy the Church teaches us that almighty God gives divine aid to those who ask for it with confidence. 

Jesus, having risen from the dead (Epistle), raises His people to a new life by baptism of which the cure of the deaf-mute was a type, due also to the prayer of Our Lord (Gospel).

Therefore, speaking by the power of God, our Lord says: "Ephpheta, which is, be thou opened: and immediately the ears of the deaf-mute were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed." It was by the power of the Holy Ghost that our Lord drove out the evil spirit from the deaf-mute and that priests likewise in Christ's name expel the devil from the soul of the baptized.

So, in baptism, the priest, having put a little salt, representing wisdom, into the child's mouth, in Christ's name and by the power of the Holy Ghost, commands the unclean spirit to withdraw from the baptized person. Then he takes a little saliva and touches the ears and the nostrils of the child with it, saying, like our Lord: "Ephpheta", open your heart to the things of faith. And the soul passes shortly after from the death of sin in which it lay buried, and which made it deaf and dumb in the supernatural world, and rises to a new life.

By restoring to us the divine life, baptism unites us with our Lord's resurrection. Therefore "all rejoice in God their helper, and sing aloud to the God of Jacob" (Alleluia) who, out of the abundance of His loving kindness, is wont to go beyond the hopes and desires of the suppliant, and to pour forth His mercy upon them (Collect), by distributing to us in abundance the fruits of the Holy Ghost (Communion).


Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.