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ahugIn the Genesis story of disobedience in chapter 3 (1-8), when both Adam and Eve had “eaten of the fruit,” the text tells us, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened,” and they saw the truth of what they had done. In the gospel of Mark (7:31-37) there is a story of the healing by Jesus of a man in the district of Decapolis. “Ephphatha,” he said, touching his ears and tongue and “immediately the man’s ears were opened and his speech impediment was removed.”

Upon a first read of these stories I began to think about our five most basic human senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. What precious gifts they are! I can’t say I often take them for granted since everywhere I go I am wowed by the sights and sounds of God’s creation. I am similarly moved by the experience of smells that come wafting from the kitchen and the tastes of what has drawn me to dinner. And then there is the touch of another’s hand or a full body hug in the greeting between friends who come together after a long absence. Gratitude for the magnificent creation of our physical bodies and compassion for those who are diminished by their lack ought to be given more than the passing thought. Conscious attention in all that we do should be a daily practice.

My deepest prayer in response to these readings today comes, however, from the gospel acclamation, for it is here that the central motivation of all our actions resides. “Open my heart, O Lord,” we pray, “that we may listen to the words You speak.” May that be our prayer and our intention each and every day of our lives.