Saturday, September 05, 2015


Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary
Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.  IS 35:4

The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.  PS 146:7

Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?  James 2:5

He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.  MK 7:33-35

Lord, take me aside into the quiet. Open my ears. Open my heart. Take away my fear and give me the strength to speak of your great love to all who will listen.  Put your great love into my heart that I might love all around me who are so desperately in need of your love and healing.  Make me an instrument of your peace.

In each of today’s readings and in the psalm, we hear of God’s great love for each of us.  But in order for us to hear, see and speak of God’s love, our ears must be opened and our sight restored.  This is best done when we go aside to be with Jesus alone for it is in the presence of Jesus and away from the crowd that our ears can be opened and our sight restored.

In this particular healing story, the deaf man does not come to Jesus on his own seeking healing; he is brought by his friends.  As a man with hearing difficulties, I know how difficult it is to even admit you have a hearing problem much less to ask for help.  Men can solve all their own problems, right?

Jesus understands the situation and so takes the man aside away from the crowd to perform his miracle.  Jesus shows great sympathy for the man and his situation.  Such is the great love and compassion that God feels for each of us.

Jesus tells the crowd not to tell anyone what has happened here. The usual explanation for this is that Jesus did not want to further alienate the religious leaders.  I wonder if a better explanation might be that Jesus did not want to embarrass the man he had just healed.  As imitators of Jesus, are we not being called to exercise the same care and consideration for others that he has shown to the deaf man?

Who are the people in your life who are afraid and in need of encouragement? Who can you bring to Jesus for healing? Do you have the courage to seek Jesus healing touch for yourself on your own or do you need someone to bring you to Jesus for help?

Spend some time today in the quiet reflecting on these questions and others that may arise. Use the answers to formulate your apostolic plan of Action for this week.

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