Open. This word has so many applications. One use refers to a business when customers can purchase something. Another use refers to a road that is clear, free from obstructions. Another use concerns an athletic competition, as in the US Open. The word open can refer to what we can see, either good things or not so good things. And in today’s first reading, and the gospel, the notion of open plays an important role.
In the first reading, Adam and Eve’s eyes are opened. But instead of being opened to good things, Adam and Eve are now able to see evil. They use their power of choice to reject God. When they reject God, it is not the case their lives become better. In becoming open to evil, they become closed to God.
When the deaf man encounters Jesus, his ears are opened. Through the healing action of Jesus, the man can now hear God. He can now proclaim the Good News. Which he does. Despite being told not to, the man cannot help but do so. He tells anyone and everyone what Jesus has done for him. Everyone hears the Good News. Everyone proclaims the marvelous deeds of Jesus.
It is for this reason, listening and proclaiming, that this phrase is used at Baptism. Just as Jesus opened the ears and loosened the tongue of the man, so too he does in baptism. When we are baptised, we are just like the deaf man. And the odd paradox is, that when we are opened to God, we become more closed to evil. God says to you and me today, speaking to our hearts: Be opened!