(imperative of Aramaic verb, to open)

A ceremony which is a part of the administration of Baptism. It consists in the applying of saliva from the priest's mouth to the ears and nostrils of the person who is being baptized, with the words:
"Ephpheta, which is: Be thou opened, in the odor of sweetness. And thou, devil, flee; for the judgment of God will draw near."
The touching of the ears signifies the opening of the understanding to the word of God; the touching of the nostrils denotes the sweetness of the spirit life. The ceremony resembles the curing of the dumb man, as recorded in Saint Mark (7). Ephpheta is also the name for the Sunday on which this Gospel is read, the eleventh after Pentecost.

New Catholic Dictionary

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