Being Opened

by Jen Owens

The past two weeks have been a blur of packing, driving, unpacking, furniture shopping, and getting acquainted with new people in new surroundings. In the move from Boston to Berkeley, with a long stop in Orange County over the summer, I’ve come face to face with my own vulnerability, my own need for healing. And through that vulnerability, I can identify with the deaf man who has a speech impediment, the main character in today’s Gospel.

Like the deaf man with the speech impediment, I have felt the need to reach out to Jesus throughout the summer, asking for companionship and for strength as I begin my doctoral studies this fall. Often fumbling my way through it, I clumsily make my pleas to the Jesus who loves and heals.

And I love how embodied Jesus’ response is in the Gospel today; it’s hardly neat and tidy. He puts his hands in the man’s ears, spits, and touches his tongue, inviting him to be opened. And in that moment, Jesus heals this man of what ails him–he can hear and finds the fullness of his voice.

Throughout the in-between of the past several months, I have sincerely focused on attempting to discern the voice of God in the everyday-ness of my life. And in listening, I am finding the courage to speak the truths that God puts on my heart. It isn’t easy, but I am grateful for the doing of it. Because in the doing of it, I am reminded again of my vulnerability, and my willingness to draw close to Jesus as he draws close to me is renewed. That is my prayer for today–that all of us will find those sources of vulnerability that allow us to reach out to the Jesus who heals, that we would not shy away from them, but embrace them as a means to walk more closely with that Jesus and all those who are vulnerable in our communities. In those marginal spaces, not only do we have room to heal, but also to become agents of healing for others, making our communities a little less broken, a little more whole.

Jen Owens is a co-editor of From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism. She begins classes in the doctoral program in systematic and philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union this week.

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