Then, looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to the man, “Ephphatha!” which means ‘Be opened.’
In which direction or to whom/what is Jesus addressing his, “Ephphatha”?
Speaking to a deaf person wouldn’t seem to have that much effect. They wouldn’t be able to join their hope to the intended opening.
Bratcher242 suggests this to be a passive command which might be “relatable to the ears”. If to the ears, then to the whole process of physically hearing, apart from the man himself.
If Jesus is relating to “heaven” this command is one that expects a shower of blessing to be dropping upon the man.
Finally, in a scene with only two people, with the other person, ears, and heaven accounted for, Jesus sighs or groans for it is his very own self-perception cracking that he is only to tell good news to one group of people. This scene, added to previous ones, begins to formally break open a limited view of Neighb*rliness and erase the separations that come with purity.
With the transliterated use of another Aramaic word we are at once here, off to the side in the open, as well as back in a young girls bedroom. Talitha cum (Awake!) and Ephphatha (Be Open!) begin to shimmer back and forth until each is better seen in the other’s light.
We are also back in Nazareth with those who knew Jesus as a youth and young man. They knew too much to suspend their disbelief. They were closed. We can even imagine Jesus using this word with them as they closed ranks against him or as he turned to shake the dust from his sandal at their lack of hospitality.
If we listen and understand our reading of Mark is also a rewriting of Mark in the context of our time and experience, we can hear this word, Ephphatha, still echoing. To hear a new word is to be challenged to also speak it for teaching deepens the understanding.
One of the on-going questions is how much dressing up the basics need for us to be able to hear them. We are addicted to “New”, “Improved”, and other superlatives. Would we be open to hear “Be Open” as well without it having the quaint, quasi-magical sound of an ancient language? Would we hear Jesus as clearly if he bowed and spoke to his inner depths instead of looking into a beyond (heaven)?