Saturday, September 08, 2018
23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
September 9, 2018 - 23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Cycle B. Green.
Is 35: 4 -7a / Jas 2: 1- 5 / Mk 7: 31- 37
1ST 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. In the haunts where once the reptiles lay, grass will grow with reeds and rushes.
2ND 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 man enters a 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 seat at 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 READING: 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 on 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."
In today's Gospel reading the evangelist narrates one of the many miraculous cures that Jesus worked. A man who was deaf and mute was brought to Jesus who looked up to heaven (seeking divine power?) and gave the command, "Be opened!" and the man was enabled to hear and speak perfectly. We are told of an event in a day of the public ministry of Jesus.
But as this story is preached to us today it is not only about the cure of a man who was deaf and mute. The reading of the Gospel of today is a reminder to all of us of our need to have the Lord open whatever may be closed in us and needs to be opened. Are we sometimes deaf to the cries of the poor and needy around us? Are there times when we are speechless when we should cry out against injustice? Do any prejudices or biases keep us closed to how to deal with others?
If we, therefore, were to read and hear today's Gospel story simply about a historical event in the Lord's life, we would miss the whole reason why the evangelist has included this event (and many others like it) in his Gospel narrative. The story may seem to be about a man who was deaf and mute a couple of thousand years ago, but as we read and hear the story in our liturgy today the story is about you and me and all of us. Let us be ready to hear the Lord say to us, "Be opened!"
Have a good day!
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