February 12, 2021
‘Be Opened!’
…people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment… He took him off by himself…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.
Mark 7:32, 33-35

This healing story resonates in a new way for me in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The details of Jesus’ method of curing the man have a stark physicality. That stands out for me now when our physical selves are particularly threatened.

An amazing outcome in the chaos of this crisis: it is as if Jesus’ “Ephphatha!” has somehow sounded. As the infections and deaths increase worldwide, words of protest against racial injustice everywhere have been spoken plainly, and many ears opened to hear their truth.

Dear God who made us all, in this health crisis, help us realize our true equality with one another and respond with respect and warmth.

- Patricia Livingston

Genesis 3:1-8 • Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7 Mark 7:31-37

Comments

Mary Beth Walt Respond to comment
February 13, 2021 at 09:22 AM

I understand this is only one persons interpretation of the events of 2020, but if the magazine only promotes one narrative, that all people were "plainly" speaking about racial injustice, it ignores the riots and destruction and by ignoring it, justifies it.

February 12, 2021 at 10:52 PM

I don't always come to this site because I have other Catholic sites I visit in a day. Today I came and thought I was on any other forum like Facebook etc. where everyone has their own opinion which is the most right over anyone else. Little love or respect shows through for the other responders, no charity of words with regard to another's opinion or where they're coming from not even for the person who wrote the devotional. This I thought was a place where you could share your concerns about family, or express love for Jesus and encourage one another. Jesus is our model. I didn't see much modeling after Jesus nor very little encouragement for one another in the opinions that were expressed. Back in Jesus' day, there was inequality on many fronts. The same sins exist today. Protests seem to be growing louder on many fronts, but unless we put full trust in God, pray to him before we act, listen to his words of love we will just be a clanging symbol or a noisy gong(1Cor.13.1), just inspired by our own ideas not those of the Holy Spirit. And we will continue to fail to better mankind as a whole. Let's have all the devotion we can muster for Jesus, and love one another, with understanding and tolerance. We will never be ONE if we follow the ways of the world or treat this "devotional" site like any other "babble forum." I know some of you pray for other people on this site. Don't forget that's #1. Jesus always prayed before He did anything. It's good to follow His example. May God bless each of you and your families and the situations your struggle with. Amen

Elizabeth
February 13, 2021 at 01:05 PM

Kathy, agree, let's pray this prayer site doesn't turn Google and Censor our true beliefs and voices. Even if that were to happen though, not to worry, God Speaks and the very stones will cry out.

Carol
February 13, 2021 at 07:22 AM

Amen..

C. Robinson Cooper Respond to comment
February 12, 2021 at 06:41 PM

Disappointed Living Faith! Leave out racial comments. Thought this was a Catholic devotional site? Please don't scare your devoted followers off. Jezu ufam Tobie.

February 12, 2021 at 05:32 PM

Patricia thank you for your wonderful devotion. * In today’s Gospel, Jesus literally heals a deaf man who had a speech impediment. Let’s look at this healing in terms of its spiritual meaning. The crowd is a large part of the problem. The raucous voices of so many, the insistent bray of the advertising culture, the confusion of competing spiritualities—all of it makes us deaf to God’s word. And therefore, we have to be moved to a place of silence and communion. Jesus draws us into his space, there, away from the crowd, we can immerse ourselves in the rhythm of the liturgy, listen to the Holy Scripture wholeheartedly , study the scriptural beliefs, take in the beauty of sacred art and architecture. There we can hear! God Bless our Living Faith Family.

mike maze
February 13, 2021 at 06:30 PM

race scares you?

February 12, 2021 at 03:25 PM

Just wonder if Patricia Livingston and the other Liberal activists who re-imagined this prayer site consider and vocalize the racial in-equalities of black and Latino babies in their own mothers' wombs?

david
February 14, 2021 at 11:47 PM

That is a horrible thing to say, Elizabeth, I feel that you think it is only Black people and Latina's as if only brown and black people sin by aborting the baby's.

February 12, 2021 at 12:13 PM

Non-Disclaimer: This is Salina's personal thoughts, lessons and comments based on toaday's mass readings - Genesis 3:1-8 • Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7 Mark 7:31-37 ***Salina loves questions: Why didn't Eve just ask God if the snake was telling her the truth or a lie? God was with them 24/7, right? *So here is a question for Salina: Why don't you go to God instead of listening to the noises? *So here is a question for you: Why don't you go to God directly to check and see if Salina is telling the truth? *Going to God directly is always better than listening to what Salina has to share because what she shared is her own personal lesson and ABCs (already been chewed)! ***My ears are opened and I cannot help myself but to praise You, my Lord Jesus!!! ***My prayer, "Blessed is the one (Salina) whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one (Salina) whose sin the Lord does not count against them (her) and in whose spirit is no deceit...You are my shelter; from distress You will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom You will ring me round :-) Amen! (Psalm 32:1-2, 7)

February 12, 2021 at 12:01 PM

All are welcome in this place. As our parish priest says, “Catholics aren’t the only ones in heaven” Lol

February 12, 2021 at 11:10 AM

Salina Tim Daniel and dace I enjoyed your comments remember we are all " children of God " I just put my grandson Hendrix to sleep I rock him for 15 to 20 minutes praying and singing my wedding song. It's a special time my wife and bestfriend Kathy is always there watching us. Living faith family please pray for Mason a grandson of one of the people in our church , also my client Louis and his grandson who was shot and killed this year. I am praying for you guys right now. Ken

February 12, 2021 at 10:14 AM

We live by every word that comes from the mouth of God, the bible. Shouldn't be the Church, shouldn't be Catholic. Jesus said, Father, let them be one as we are one.

February 12, 2021 at 09:28 AM

did you really have to put in the politically charged "racial injustice protest" words? NO.

Daniel
February 12, 2021 at 09:46 AM

Fail to see how "racial injustice" is politically charged, it seems you are interjecting your personal political opinion to a collective devotion. In my humbled opinion (claiming its my own opinion) Christ was a champion of racial injustice for he did welcome all from Samarian to Israelite and taught of the equality of al life. So it applies very well to the devotion and it shines a light on lack of equality to mention "racial injustice protest" not sure what your true motive is here but peace be with you my friend.

February 12, 2021 at 08:57 AM

"Put God First" , secondly please feel free to use whatever tools are available in your life to enrich and grown your faith. This by the Power of the Holy Spirit, we locate these additional resources, AMEN, Praise Him. "Be Open" Be open to come to God with our sins and ask for his forgiveness and love. Do we hide from our God when we sin, if so, come to repentance and ask for God's forgiveness and love today. It is there, God love us so much to forgive us, always. Be open enough to come to Jesus with our whole self, heart and soul and let him know that we have come up short and need his intercessions, help to sin no more. We are human and seek his forgiveness and love to sin no more. We are human, but if we Put Him First, everyday we will be walking closer than we were yesterday. Blessed are those who share what they have found as tools, inspiration to walk closer with him today than yesterday. Be Open to what is happening around you in the world today. Praying for our Living Faith Family, for those who have no one to pray for them and for the souls in Purgatory. Amen.

david
February 12, 2021 at 07:59 PM

Amen

dace
February 12, 2021 at 10:29 AM

Peace to you as well. I guess I'm venting because I'm really getting tired of being called a racist and a white supremacist. It's that simple. I'm tired of it.

February 12, 2021 at 08:42 AM

Thank you, Salina, for your great heart and teaching. Today it was a good complement to Patricia's teaching - you both, I n your own ways, addressed what it means to "be opened." We are too often like Eve when we should be praising God like the healed man. Truth transcends denominations. Thank yoi, LFF Family, for ALL your wisdom. Be blessed today (and be a blessing, too!).

February 12, 2021 at 08:26 AM

Amen. Thank you Holy Father for this beautiful day and for today's Gospel. Thank you Lord for my faith, my life and for my family. Thank you Holy Father, most of all, for your great sacrifice and for the opportunity of forgiveness and reconciliation. Please Lord have mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory. Amen Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask that you release your warrior angels and heavenly host. We decry and declare that they would take us off the enemies' radar and scramble the enemies' frequencies (airwaves). Your Kingdom must come now. Your will must be done right now, as in the heavens as on earth. Amen

Sham Peter Narine Respond to comment
February 12, 2021 at 08:17 AM

Thanks Patricia for today's devotion. Dear Father in heaven, we thank you with all our hearts for showing your power in us and for overcoming so much that is hostile and that threatens to harm our life. Prayer for all the living faith family members. Have a blessed day everyone.

February 12, 2021 at 08:15 AM

Amen.

February 12, 2021 at 08:11 AM

Have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed Chinese New Year of Ox!

February 12, 2021 at 07:08 AM

Thank you and Amen!

February 12, 2021 at 05:48 AM

AMEN! Thank you Salina for beautiful bible lesson to begin my Friday. Prayers and for the Living Faith Family :)

mike maze
February 12, 2021 at 08:13 AM

Bible Study Fellowship she is promoting here, is an evangelic not Catholic group not saying its wrong just informing you some of the ideas are not what is taught in the Church just FYI .

February 12, 2021 at 01:03 AM

2/10/21 BSF Student Bible Lesson #18 Genesis 28 *** God’s Attribute: Provider *** Aim: To learn that God provides the way to know, love, trust and obey Him! *** Teach us, O Lord. Draw near to us and show us grace even in the midst our sins. Help us through our difficulties, even when the problems are of our own making! I am grateful that You provide us with everything we need, to know You, to love You, to trust You and to obey You! In Jesus Name, we pray! Amen! *** Introduction • Self preservation and fears seemed to drive the characters in Genesis to make the wrong choices over and over again. Who do you turn to or what do you do when you are afraid of not doing well on a test, not being included in a group, not getting what you want or not wanting to do what you are told to do? I know who I turn to and what I do when I am in a self-preservation and fear mode…I would work very hard on my own to correct the situation. I act as I see fit. (Let me share with you my example) • Have you ever felt that your choices cannot be made right? I sure have! But God! Remember these two words, “But God!” There is hope! The hope is in a personal relationship with God! • The life of Jacob tells us there is hope to overcome our struggles with sin and sin’s consequences. As God did for Jacob, He provides the way for us to know, love, trust and obey Him! Which is our Aim this week. (PPT slide #1) God’s attribute is Provider! God is our provider!!! • Let’s open our Bible to Genesis 28 and see how God provided the way to know, love, trust and obey Him! ***A. Parents’ wholehearted blessing (Genesis 28:1-9) • Last week, Isaac tried to change God’s plan by giving the blessing to HIS favorite son, Esau and failed. And Rebekah tried to help HER favorite son, Jacob to get the blessing promised by God in a deceitful way. Jacob got his blessing by deceiving his father, Isaac. Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing. • Esau was very mad and he planned to kill Jacob, so Rebekah and Isaac sent Jacob away for safety. • Before Jacob left, Isaac obeyed God and gave Jacob the blessing promised. God provided the way for Isaac to know, love, trust and obey Him! • Instead of repenting of his sin, Esau on the other hand tried to fix his problem of having two Canaanite wives in creating more problem by marrying the daughter of Ishmael. *** First Principle Truth: (PPT slide #2) God graciously provides for His people! • God chose to bless Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not because they were perfect but because of God’s grace! • In His grace, He gave them opportunities to seek Him and to repent of their sins. • To all who respond to His grace, God provides the way to know, love, trust and obey Him! • Do you see the grace and the opportunities God places in front of you? I did! (Tell them what happened) ***B. God’s covenant in a dream (Genesis 28:10-15) • Jacob had to travel 600 miles to go from Beersheba to Harran. It was a difficult and dangerous journey. One night, he slept on the ground and used a stone as a pillow. • God came to Jacob in a dream standing on top of a stairway with angels going up and down from heaven to earth on the stairway. • God personally gave His promised blessing to Jacob in Genesis 28:14, (PPT slide #3) “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” which is our Memory verse for this week. • Jacob had done nothing to deserve this kindness from God! *** Second Principle Truth: (PPT slide #4) God graciously forgives and blesses His people! • In John 1:51, Jesus identified Himself as the stairway from Jacob’s dream! • We now understand that Jesus is the bridge between God and Man! • Jesus died for our sins! God graciously forgives all who turn from their sins and trust in Him! He provides the Way (Jesus) for us to know, love, trust and obey Him! • Do you remember a time and place where God met you with this same truth? ***C. Worship with Vow at Bethel (Genesis 28:16-22) • Jacob woke up certain of God’s presence with him. His heart was filled with joy and he responded with humility, awe and worship! • He wanted to remember this place where God met him. So he set up the stone he used as pillow the night before as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. • He changed the name of this place to Bethel, meaning “house of God!” • He then made a promise in gratitude to the promises God has made in his dream, that the Lord would be his God, the stone pillar he set up was a sanctuary to worship God and he would give a tenth of all he owned. *** Third Principle Truth: (PPT slide #5) God provides the way to know, love, trust and obey Him! • God graciously gave Jacob what he did not deserve – His presence and His promise! • How will you respond to God’s grace of rescuing you from sins and eternal death through faith in Jesus Christ? *** Conclusion – The life of Jacob tells us there is hope to overcome our struggle with sin and sin’s consequences. This hope is found in a personal relationship with Jesus. His perfect love displayed on the cross provides the way for us to know, love, trust and obey Him! To that I say Amen!

mike maze
February 12, 2021 at 04:59 PM

Salina are you one of those last words people? always have to have it. People relationships are "up to God" but the implication your making is you can do whatever and say whatever and offend whomever in Gods name. His judgment is His own that is the where the last word stands!

Salina
February 12, 2021 at 02:54 PM

Continue with my BSF Bible lesson above, I share with you how God provided the way for me to know Him, to love Him, to trust Him and to obey Him this Monday Morning! ***Preface - my youngest daughter Jessi came and visited us on Friday and left on Sunday, so I only finished my adult questions on my BSF lesson. I took the three days off to spend time with Jessi and watched the Super Bowl :-) So by Monday morning, I was in a panic mode because I have not started anything, not one word, on my student Bible lesson yet :-( I did my LF Devotions first thing to calm my spirit and refocus my mind. ***Problem presented to me: After LF Devotions Monday morning, I started to write and my husband said to me, "My work computer and my phone won't connect with the WiFi? Do you know what the problem is? I have a meeting in 10 minutes!" Salina, "My computer and phone have no problem!" Matt, "Were you going to switch out the modem for a new one from spectrum? Can you do it today?" Salina replied, "I can't do it today because I have to work on my Bible lesson! Can I do it Wednesday after my BSF class?" Silence! Then Matt said, "I supposed I can use my hot spot from work for now..." I was glad problem solved! ***My life application of this Bible lesson: So I started to write my Bible lesson, "Introduction • Self preservation and fears seemed to drive the characters in Genesis to make the wrong choices over and over again. Who do you turn to or what do you do when you are afraid of not doing well on a test, not being included in a group, not getting what you want or not wanting to do what you are told to do? I know who I turn to and what I do when I am in a self-preservation and fear mode…I would work very hard on my own to correct the situation. I act as I see fit." Immediately, I could feel my heart was beating fast because I just put down the exact words to describe my conversation with my husband and my heart's condition :-(self preservation and fears) ***I immediately saved my document, jumped up from my chair and went to disconnect the modem. I told Matt I was sorry that I was only thinking about myself and ignored that he is the bread winner thinking that doing God's work trumps his work :-( I took my car keys and went to switch the modem at Spectrum, came back, reconnected the modem and called and waited to activate. It was lunch by the time everything was done. Matt said he couldn't believe how fast the Wifi was with the new modem :-) ***You see, God provided me the way by telling me I am no different than the chracters in Genesis I was studying. He provided me the way to know His heart for me to be Matt's helper. He provided me the way to love Him in responding to His prompting. He provided me the way and time to trust Him in finishing the work He has started in me writing out the Bible lesson. He provided me the way to obey Him immediately. ***So When I wrote, "Do you see the grace and the opportunities God places in front of you?" My reply, "I did!" ***To God be the glory! ***P.S. The WiFi was giving Matt problem this morning? And today I have to deal with a big online banking payment mistake I made :-( But God...He is my provider and He provides the way for me to know, to love, to trust and to obey Him :-) in everything! Amen!

Salina
February 12, 2021 at 11:39 AM

M&M, Good idea! I will consider putting a "non-disclaimer" for my BSF student Bible lessons in the future, so anyone new on the site will know that these lessons I, Salina, personally pray, prepare and write to teach the BSF students are based on the leading of the Holy Spirit with the BSF questions and notes. Just the same way as everyone who share their comments, feedbacks and lessons on this site who read the "Mass Readings Of The Day" and the comments of the Contributors! I have always provided links to references I quote directly here on this site, so one can read the references for themselves. I have also corresponded with the editor of this site to show her my hand written notes to prepare my Bible lessons, so no copy-righted issue on my BSF Bible lesson sharing since my husband, a patent attorney, has drilled into my head about copy-right material. Legal issues I have none, and people issues are not up to me "But God!" :-) ***Galatians 6:9-10, "So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith!" ***You know Salina loves questions, right? Here is a question pops into my head, "St. Peter greets Salina at the pearly gate and says, "Which denomination do you belong to?" For that Salina replies, "Jesus Christ is my Lord! So whatever denomination He belongs to..." :-) :-) :-)

Gayle
February 12, 2021 at 10:51 AM

Jesus prayed, Be opened!

Daniel
February 12, 2021 at 09:25 AM

In my humbled opinion you both have good points, Salina is a regular on the site shares frequently and is passionate about helping others and her faith in Christ. Expressing in words is how she shares. She is a beneficial presence in the living faith family as most agree. That said Mike makes a point about the source of some of her posts being from the Evangelic church and yes "truth transcends denomination" but may be a good idea to avoid further confusion for Salina to use "disclaimer" of sorts that she is getting the material she is posting like if its directly from BSF that it is a source outside the Church so people do know its origin, it is true what he said "people trust its approved by the church and what is taught by the church." You both seem wise and I'm sure love Christ equally, and are loved equally by the living faith family. Peace be with you all!

Salina
February 12, 2021 at 08:26 AM

I am sorry you feel this way, Mike :-( You see I am actually thinking of equity and not equality: I am lacking so I require more learning resulting in more words and not wiser :-) You are not lacking so you require less :-) You and I are different and that's a good thing! I have no need to defend my sharing, God knows and 'But God!' :-) :-) :-) BTW, you are not the only one who feels this way about me and my sharing, and definitely not the last one either...so know that you are in good company! I hope you feel you have spoken for yourself and others on this site...

mike maze
February 12, 2021 at 08:17 AM

you should make the disclaimer that Bible Study Fellowship is not a Catholic but evangelic group, its misleading when you post in a Catholic forum, people trust its approved by the church and what is taught by the church.

mike maze
February 12, 2021 at 08:05 AM

You unfortunately missed the point of the devotion it was EQUALITY, is something we must have! Many words don't make people wise, jut gives the appearance they believe themselves to be above others in there learning and devotion and that is counter to the concept of true equality.

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