Saturday, September 05, 2015
23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
September 6, 2015 - 23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Cycle B, Green
Is 35:4-7a / Jas 2:1–5 / Mk 7:31-37
First Reading: Is 35:4-7a
Say to those who are afraid: "Have courage, do not fear: See, your God comes, demanding justice. He is the God who rewards, the God who comes to save you."
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout. For water will break out in the wilderness and streams gush forth from the desert. The thirsty ground will become a pool, the arid land springs of water.
Second Reading: Jas 2:1–5
My brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in our glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, you will not discriminate between persons. Suppose a person enters the synagogue where you are assembled, dressed magnificently and wearing a gold ring; at the same time, a poor person enters dressed in rags. If you focus your attention on the well-dressed and say, "Come and sit in the best seat," while to the poor one you say, "Stay standing or else sit down at my feet," have you not, in fact, made a distinction between the two? Have you not judged, using a double standard?
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, did God not choose the poor of this world to receive the riches of faith and to inherit the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?
Gospel: Mk 7:31-37
Again Jesus set out; from the country of Tyre he passed through Sidon and skirting the sea of Galilee he came to the territory of Decapolis. There a deaf man who also had difficulty in speaking was brought to him. They asked Jesus to lay his hand upon him.
Jesus took him apart from the crowd, put his fingers into the man's ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then, looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him, "Ephphetha," that is, "Be opened."
And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone, but the more he insisted on this, the more they proclaimed it. The people were completely astonished and said, "He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."
The Gospels help us to meet Jesus. They tell us who he is and what kind of a man he was during his life on earth. They tell us about his mission for which he lived and died. Today's Gospel shows us the man Jesus exercising his ministry.
The man Jesus was many things. He was a credible teacher, unlike the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees. He lived compassion and mercy as he showed himself to be at home with all types of people, even with sinners and those who did not always observe all the details of the Law. Something magnetic about his personality attracted crowds to listen to him. A man of deep prayer, he had a profound sense of his relationship with God his Father. He was a man who was totally faithful to his mission, despite being misunderstood and rejected. He was so committed to his mission that he declared that his food was "to do the will of the One who sent him and to carry out his work." (Jn 4: 34)
The Gospel reading today is about a cure which give credence to his clams and mission. The healing of the deaf man with a speech impediment was not simply a story of a healing miracle. It is the story of an event which helps to explain the mission and ministry of Jesus.
The disciples of John the Baptist wondered if this man Jesus was the one for whom the people were waiting, the long-awaited Messiah. John sent followers to Jesus to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" The reply of Jesus was, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life and the good news is reaching the poor." (Mt 11: 2 - 5)
Today's Gospel reading is not just about a miracle: it gives us a key for understanding the mission of Jesus. It shows that the mission and ministry of Jesus was to liberate people from burdens that prevented them from living life fully. Curing the deaf man and enabling him to speak are examples of the liberating mission of Jesus.
That same liberating mission of Jesus continues to be the mission of his followers today. The Second Vatican Council fifty years ago reminded us that we are members of a Church which is a missionary Church. A more recent reminder is Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Contemplating today's Gospel story is contemplating the account of a miracle; but more than that, we are contemplating the call to mission for all of us.
The question and challenge for each one of us is how we can contribute in our own lives to this mission of helping our brothers and sisters with what they need to live their lives as fully as possible.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
NORTHPARK (SINCE 1994)
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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