Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – on the Gospel

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

Healing the Deaf and Mute People of God

Isaiah 35:4-7

James 2:1-5

Mark 7:31-37

Samuel was one of the most remarkable gospel preachers in my village. You see, Samuel was blind and never went to school. Later in life he joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses and had to memorize large portions of the Bible since he could not read. Samuel’s little boy would lead him to your house and Samuel would begin his preaching with the words, “I was blind but now I see!” It was fascinating to see this blind, illiterate man challenging educated and sighted people, and saying, “Now let us turn to John 3:16 and read.” His very presence bore testimony to the fact that in Christ, seeing and hearing mean much more than the use of the physical senses of the eye and the ear.

The similarities as well as differences between the external senses of seeing and hearing as compared to the internal faculty of knowing and obeying the message of Christ is the key to understanding Mark’s use of many of the healing miracles. Mark wrote to a community of believers under persecution. In such a situation speaking up for Christ was a very dangerous thing. It could cost you your life. The story of the deaf-mute in today’s gospel is apparently aimed at those members of his community who could not bear witness to Jesus because they would not hear his word. Because they are deaf to the words of Jesus, that is why they have a speech impediment in speaking about him. There is, therefore, a parallel between the deaf-mute in today’s gospel and Jesus’ disciples. The man can neither hear nor speak properly. The disciples cannot understand the message of Jesus, and this constitutes an impediment in their proclamation. They, too, need healing.

Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly (Mark 7:33-35).

Why did Jesus take the deaf man away from the crowd? And why did he have to go into such a detailed and graphic healing process when he could simply have said a word and the man would be all right? I think that in these details of the story, Mark is saying something to his readers. By taking the deaf man far from the madding crowd in order to heal him, Mark is probably saying to them that in order to be healed of their deafness to the word of God they needed to distance themselves from the masses around them, since the healing encounter with Jesus happens in the private intimacy of one’s heart and that of their small Christian community. Remember that Christians were then a very small minority and their meetings took place not in big churches but in the private homes of members.

This healing is very different from the healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter which preceded it. In that story, Jesus did not take any action other than to announce the healing to the woman (verse 29). But in this case he goes into an elaborate ritual in seven acts: (1) He takes the man aside. (2) He put his fingers into the man’s ears. (3) He spits and (4) touches the man’s tongue. (5) He looks up to heaven and (6) he sighs. (7) He issues the healing command, “Ephphatha.” Why does Jesus go into all this? More importantly, why does Mark record all this? Probably Mark’s church was beginning to develop their rituals of anointing and the use of special formulas. In that case this was a way of saying to the readers that by participating in these early liturgical ceremonies they would experience healing. And then, after one has experienced this healing, nothing on earth could stop one from proclaiming Jesus, even in the unlikely circumstance that Jesus himself would ask them to keep silent.

Do we realize that we are deaf? Does it occur to us that, as individuals and as church, we do not yet fully understand the message of Jesus? Is that not the reason why we have a speech impediment and the people of our time no longer understand us when we try to tell the Good News? As individuals and as church we need to come to Jesus for healing. And this can happen here, far from the madding crowds, in the privacy of the Eucharistic celebration.

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Homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – on the Epistle

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

Honour to All, Especially the Poor

Isaiah 35:4-7

James 2:1-5

Mark 7:31-37

Once there was a little old man. His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth. Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son’s wife didn’t like the arrangement.

“I can’t have this,” she said. “It interferes with my right to happiness.” So she and her husband took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with wistful eyes.

One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the earthenware bowl fell and broke. “If you are a pig,” said the daughter-in-law, “you must eat out of a trough.” So they made him a little wooden trough and he got his meals in that.

These people had a four-year-old son of whom they were very fond. One evening the young man noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing. “I’m making a trough,” he said, smiling up for approval, “to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big.”

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while and didn’t say anything. Then they cried a little. They then went to the corner and took the old man by the arm and led him back to the table. They sat him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things.

This is one of Grimm’s fairy tales. It brings out the evil of overlooking the fact the fact that every human being, irrespective of age, health or wealth, needs to be treated with dignity and respect. Today’s second reading from James, condemns favouritism. In one word, favouritism means to allow oneself to be unduly influenced by a person’s social status or prestige or power or wealth or the lack of these things. Favouritism can take either one of two forms: looking up to the rich and powerful or looking down on the weak and vulnerable. In Grimm’s tale it is the case of looking down on the weak and vulnerable little old man.

Let us hear what James, the apostle of practical Christianity, tells us about the favouritism. “My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?” (James 2:1). James begins with a rhetorical question in which he makes the point that favouritism is inconsistent with the Christian faith. One cannot claim to be a believer in our Lord, Jesus Christ and still be a respecter of persons. Why is that? It is because Jesus was not a respecter of persons. Even his enemies, the Pharisees, gave him credit for that when they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality” (Matthew 22:16). Faith tells us that every human being on earth bears the image and likeness of God. This comes before the obvious differences of social class, culture, gender or lifestyle. Basically, all human beings are equal and should be treated as such. God’s children must shun all favouritism, “for God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:11).

James then goes on to give us a concrete example of favouritism in the Christian assembly.

For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:2-4).

What is wrong with the ushers in this church? Are they wrong in finding a seat for the wealthy man? No. What then is their problem? Their problem is that they did not equally find a seat for the dirty, poor man but asked him to stand or sit on the floor. James is not asking us to give persons of distinction in the Christian assembly the cold shoulder in the name of equality. In discussing what should be the attitude of believers to secular authority, Paul encourages us to pay “respect to whom respect is due, and honour to whom honour is due” (Romans 13:7). The fault of the worshipping assembly in James’ example is that they treated the poor man with snobbery. We should respect the rich, but then, so also should we respect the poor. This is summarised for us 1 Peter 2:17, “Have respect for everyone and love for your fellow-believers; fear God and honour the emperor.

The passage ends with a difficult verse. “Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5). This verse is saying that God prefers the poor and, consequently, so should the church. It is a difficult verse because some people may conclude from this that James is advocating reverse favouritism or looking down on the rich. But this is not what James is teaching. James is teaching that our obligation to pay honour and respect to all should start with our brothers and sisters in the faith. In his days, it was the poor people who embraced the faith. Therefore, he argues, the church should have a preferential option for the poor. The poor who is “rich in faith” is entitled to our care and concern before the rich who is without faith.

Our prayer today is that God may open our eyes of faith to see Him and serve Him in all people, especially in the poor, the weak and the vulnerable.

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Homily # 1

Isaiah 35:4-7, James 2:1-5, Mark 7:31-37

How Secret Do We Keep Jesus and His Kingdom?

I can’t keep quiet about something that is really great. You have heard me preach about Piura, Peru and have also probably heard me tell stories. Well, I have found something so great and I can’t keep it a secret, even if someone had told me to do so, which surely they have not.

What could be so exciting about a parish in a city 3,000 miles away? It is a place where the deep faith of the poor people causes me to make a greater commitment to my own faith. For example, when I learned that the father of my adopted family was not working this summer, his wife told me that God had provided in the past and would provide again. What can I say, but “Wow!”? Please, God, give me this kind of faith during my needs.

Our second reading contrasts the rich and the poor and we heard that “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith?” There seems to be a reason for this because when you don’t have enough food to feed your children, there is nothing left but to have faith in God. In contrast, the richer in our culture often come to believe that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We sometimes rely too much on ourselves and not enough on God. And sometimes we wonder why those who are poor just don’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

In the gospel we hear that Jesus is healing in the “district of the Decapolis.” The word “decapolis” comes from two Greek words: “deca” for ten and “polis” for cities. These ten cities were east of the Jordan, which means they were in the area of the Gentiles, that is, non-Jews. After healing a deaf man, the Gentile crowd was told not to tell anyone. The crowd had just witnessed a miracle and “was exceedingly astonished,” but was told to tell no one. Ya, sure! Lots of luck! If you saw this happen in downtown Edmond or at the mall, how quiet would you be when you got home?

There are other stories in the gospels in which Jesus does a miracle and then tells the observers to say nothing. It seems to have just the opposite result, which is good in our case since we are not supposed to be quiet, but as a result of our baptism, we are supposed to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.

Actually, Jesus had a long-term reason for wanting the witnesses to be quiet. Jesus did not want to limit understanding about him to just being a miracle worker. After all, he was the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah. But, we only know that with eyes that look back in time. This secret of Jesus is referred to as the Messianic secret.

So, if we have found something so exciting, as the one who came down from heaven to forgive us our sins so that we can live forever, how can we possibly keep this a secret?

At baptism the ears of children are blessed so that they will hear the word of God. Equally important, the mouth of a child is blessed so that he or she will proclaim the word of God. So, if we are baptized, what are we doing to tell others about our savior, Jesus Christ, and his kingdom?

In Matthew’s gospel, we hear that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field and that someone sells all that he has to purchase the field. Also, we hear that the kingdom is like a pearl of great price such that a person sells everything to buy it. Does the kingdom of God look that attractive to us? How much of our “stuff” are we willing to get rid of to attain the kingdom? What things in our lives are holding us back from pursuing the kingdom of heaven and also telling others?

From my experience, what is often lacking in being able to tell others about Jesus and his kingdom is courage. From where to we get that courage? It comes from the same God that wants us to proclaim his message. One insight comes from the prophet Isaiah in the First Reading. Isaiah says,

“Thus says the Lord: [That is God speaking through the prophet]

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, Fear Not!

Here is your God, he comes with vindication;

with divine recompense he comes to save you.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared;

then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

The words, “Thus says the Lord,” should give us sufficient confidence to proclaim our savior and his kingdom. Are we convinced that it is worth doing? Will we have faith like that of the poor and depend on God and not ourselves.


Homily # 2

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 10, 2006

After listening to this thought-provoking gospel of Jesus healing a deaf man in the Decapolis , how about a little reverie?  How about putting ourselves back in time, let’s say to A. D. 32 and listen to a hypothetical conversation between a husband and his wife at the breakfast table.

“Chaim, have you read the paper yet”?  “No, dear, you seem to have hogged it all.  Can’t I at least read the sports pages?  How did the Tel Aviv Cardinals do last night”?

“Chaim, look at this headline in the Jerusalem Post; “Man healed by itinerant preacher”.  The sub-headline says that a man who had been deaf and with a speech impediment since birth now can hear and speak perfectly.  Amazing, isn’t it?  What do you think”?

“Sarah, look, these quote-unquote miracles always seem to happen somewhere else, don’t they?  How come they never happen where I am?  It’s always out in the boondocks like Tyre and Sidon or the Decapolis where those gentile bumpkins live.  It’s never here in Tel Aviv.  I don’t believe a word of it. It’s either sensationalism or a good trick”.

“It’s not a trick, Chaim.  Just yesterday I told you that I had some remarkable news, but you were more interested in telling me about how the company is going to open up a new office in Haifa and that you are the number one candidate to be its manager.  Anyway, my cousin Miriam was actually there when this guy, I think the paper said his name is Jesus, cured this man completely.  And, Miriam, as you well know, is no bumpkin”.

“Your cousin Miriam, the filthy rich Miriam, the one who sends me 60% of my business—that Miriam”?

“Yes, that Miriam, you moron.  So, wipe the lox and cream cheese off you beard and open your mind and heart to the fact that God is right here among us”.

Is God among us?  Is He?  Maybe this very short story might help answer that question.  Every day, a man passed a little girl who was selling apples from a cart.  Usually he just ignored her but today he decided to buy all of her apples because it was his wife’s birthday and he wanted to make her an apple pie for dessert.  The man gave the little girl $50.00 which was far more than the apples were worth and told her to keep the change.  As he walked away, the bewildered little girl called out to him, “Hey mister, are you Jesus”?  The man stopped in mid-stride.  And he wondered.

So, let me ask you again.  Is God among us?  Whether we like it or not, we are walking homilies.  Are we Homilies Alive who may be, like the second reading, poor in the eyes of the world but chosen by God?  Or, are we Homilies Lifeless who, like Chaim in our little playlet, have our hearts and minds set more on our businesses and worldly interests than on the love and compassion of God?

Total deafness is a terrible handicap.  I work with many deaf people in my practice and, almost to a man and woman, they are many times frustrated beyond belief because they can’t communicate the way they’d like to.  And, this leads to a feeling of isolation and exclusion.

The plight of a physical deaf-mute, as bad as it may be, is nothing when compared to a spiritual deaf-mute—someone who either can’t or won’t listen to God.  I’m afraid that all of us fall into that category at one time or another during our lifetimes.

In the gospel which we heard today, it said that Jesus groaned.  I’ve often asked myself why He did that.  Well, Holy Scripture many times associates deafness with sin—especially the sin of pride.  This man’s deafness reminded Jesus of how sin has spoiled His Father’s handiwork in creation.  And, that’s why Jesus groaned.

And how He must groan when He sees what’s going on in our world today—how we have become deaf to what’s happening in the world around us.  For example, just a few weeks ago, a female guest on one of the talk-shows apologized for being a virgin.  In seems like our modern culture has imposed on us the idea that you can’t even speak about virginity without someone laughing or snickering.  Fidelity to our spouses (and to God) has been replaced by the lifestyles of celebrities who flaunt their immorality.

I want to leave you with the actual answer to the girl who asked the man if he was Jesus.  Yes, we actually are Jesus.  That’s what you and I are all about and why we are here at Mass today.  We are a powerful sign of Christ to everybody.  Like Jesus and the deaf-mute, we’re here today at St. Bridget’s to get away from the crowds of unbelievers and be healed of our spiritual deafness.  We are here to be reborn and renewed in this liturgy so that we, like Jesus, can lay our hands on those near and dear to us—so that we, like Jesus, can say, “be opened”—open to God, open to life, open to love.  How great is that?!!


Homily # 3

Love your neighbor as yourself. Have you ever really thought about that statement? Love your neighbor as yourself. As much as you love yourself! That’s pretty hard to do. First of all, who are these neighbors?

Today we consider our neighbors as the people who live next door or across the street. Now besides neighbors, we have relatives, good friends, friends, associates and acquaintences. Some we love, some we like and some neither. So to love everyone as ourselves is going to take some doing. Now do we agree that we like a lot more persons than we love?

But wait a minute, Our Lord doesn’t agree with that. He loves a lot more people than He likes. He loves all persons and He asks us to do the same. Everyone should be our” neighbor”. There were probably some individuals that Christ didn’t like in His time because of their behavior, but He still loved them because they were part of Him, made to His image and likeness.

If we believe that Christ lives in us and we live in Christ it follows that we love our neighbor as we love God and we are part of Him. So our greatest motivation should be our love for Jesus.

A newspaper writer was visiting Mother Teresa in a Calcutta Hospital several years ago and found her comforting a dying A.I.D.S. patient as she held him in her arms. The reporter said “Mother, I wouldn’t do what your’e doing for a million dollars”.Mother replied, “I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars either, but I do do it for love.

Mother Teresa realized how much Our Lord has done for her and for all of us. He lived for us, He died for us, He made it possible for us to enjoy eternal happiness with Him; and all He asks is that we love one another.

We can’t all be Mother Teresas, but we can appreciate the faith that allowed her to fill her life with love for her neighbors regardless of their status in life. Throughout history, man has had preferences and prejudices. In our second reading, today, St. James chides his followers for wanting to associate with the better dressed and seemingly better off of their neighbors to sit with them.

Do we have a tendency to choose our friends or associates from those who are like us in looks, color, behavior, dress, life style, educational background, beliefs, social skills or income levels? But just think what a minute fraction of the world’s population this is. Every day, in our cities, we see persons we have never seen before. Do we pass them by without a thought or a glance or do we look their way, give them a smile or an act of kindness if the opportunity presents itself? If you get a chance to give a smile, watch for the happy smile in return, it never fails.

It doesn’t take much to know your neighbor. We have global communication which gives us knowledge of persons around the world. Think of the peoples of a different country. What do they do? What is their life like? Say a prayer for them that their life is a happy one. A great time to do this is as you wait in line to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, as you approach His altar. In this minute or two, say to Jesus, “I’m thinking and praying for all of Your family because You love them just as you love me and please help me to love my neighbor as myself. That’s a tough one, but with Your help I’ll make it.


Homily # 4

If we had the choice of living a century ago, in the horse and buggy days with noelectricity, no indoor plumbing and none of our modem conveniences, or of living today in our modem world of convenience we would certainly choose today. At least I would choose today for many reasons. But if I had the choice of living either today or in the times of Jesus Christ, I might have to think about that decision for a long time.
Just imagine, spiritually what would it have been like to actually encounter visually the personality of Jesus and to witness His many miracles! What would my faith be like if I experienced His tremendous charisma — if I saw Him walking on the lake (Mt 4, 22) – or if I saw His first miracle of changing water into wine at the marriage feast ofCana (Jo 2,1)- or if I was in the boat when He calmed the sea during a terrible storm (Mk 4, 39). Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to believe if I were there when He raised Lazarus from the dead (Jo 4,17)? Or if I had been in the crowd of five thousand when He multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed the entire group, and still have ten baskets of fragments remaining? Perhaps you have thought about this and have asked yourself this question. I have though quite often about it and have at times envied those “lucky” people of 2000 years ago. How easy it must have been to have a strong faith in the Person Jesus with whom they talked and shared His life experiences! But then on second thought, it may not have been so easy. Two thousand years ago in Judea I probably would have been an orthodox Jew. To accept Jesus would have meant to change completely my firm belief in Yahweh with no possibility of a Triune God. His concept of love, of ever loving one’s enemy (Lk 6, 27) would have been hard to accept by one who had been taught to believe in the law of the talon. To have been told, as was the rich young man who asked Jesus about salvation (Mt 19, 16), that I would have to give up all my possessions and follow the life style of Jesus Himself, after having been taught all my life that prosperity was a gift of God and a sign of God’s good favor. That must have been very difficult. Or to be told that one must eat His Body and drink His Blood to be saved – wouldn’t that be considered as some type oftheistic cannibalism?

Maybe it wasn’t so easy to believe in Jesus, even though one personally experienced all of His miracles, such as the miracles of today’s gospel. Maybe faith was more difficult back then than it is today. The truth is: no matter what age we live in faith is a gift from God. Jesus said very clearly in the parable of the vine and the branches (Jn 15,1): “without me you can do nothing.” In other words, whether we were to live during the life of Jesus or in the twenty-first century, to have faith in Jesus and His teachings would be a grace, given by God Himself. As the Council of Trent has explained this matter as a doctrine of the Catholic Church: “the starting point of justification is the antecedent grace of God Himself.” So, just as it is very difficult for us today, at times at least, to be truly faithful believers, so was it difficult for the early disciples to believe. In either case, at any time of history, faith is totally a gift of God.

So, today’s gospel reading about the miracles of Jesus should elicit severalfeelings within us. Firstly, we should feel extremely grateful for the grace of faith. God has given us a tremendous grace for eternal salvation, and we should so cherish that gift that we respond fully in cooperating with it. Secondly, we should remember the words of Jesus to St. Thomas after His resurrection when He appeared a second time to the apostles in the upper room: “Blessed are they, Thomas, who have not seen and yet believe.” We believe in the miracles of Jesus through the revelation of the New Testament. We have not been given the choice of living during the time of Jesus and actually seeing His divine power, or living today with the gift of faith in His revelation. Maybe we are more fortunate for being born when we were.


Homily # 5

A few days ago, I passed a church with a sign out front that said, “God promised Christians a safe landing, not smooth sailing”.  That was a catchy reminder of just how challenging it can be to try to live the Christian life.

The Gospel makes it plain that Jesus called his disciples to love others unconditionally and, as we heard, so pointedly today, he certainly expects us to take the initiative in seeking reconciliation when love breaks down.

That’s such a tall order that we could easily be thinking that that kind of teaching was fine for first century folks but this world of the twenty-first century is full of people who seem so unlovable that it can’t help but make you wonder.   If Jesus walked the earth today, preaching love and reconciliation, would he draw the line when it came to terrorists who have no respect for others’ lives or rights; or doctors who make their living killing children; or corporate big shots whose greed bankrupts a business and destroys the savings of lots of investors; or predators who abuse and molest the young?  Would Jesus make exceptions for those kinds of evil people?  I don’t believe he would.

After all, Jesus was well aware of the dark side of life when he walked the earth so long ago.  Not much has changed in 2000 years.  First century folks were not nearly as sophisticated as we are today in killing unborn children so they simply threw unwanted newborns into the city dump.  Speaking of terror, let’s not forget that Jesus and his neighbors lived in an occupied country where captive subjects were policed by the Roman army.   As to the abuse of the young, they were routinely exposed to the perversion, pornography and prostitution that was even ritualized in the religions of the pagans.  Jesus didn’t know about 401(k)’s, of course; but he was well-acquainted with slavery and the capricious rule of sick emperors which doomed any hope of peaceful security for countless people.

Yet, even as he lived in such a sick and unjust society, he still preached love and reconciliation.  Could he have been a madman out of touch with reality?  Some would say “yes” to that.  Some would say that it’s common experience that nice guys finish last.  Look what happened to your Jesus.  They hung that nice guy on a cross.  So, you can keep your love and reconciliation stuff.  I’d rather try to get even.

But, we are gathered here today because we don’t believe that Jesus was a madman nor out of touch with reality.  No, we’re here today because, hard as it can be, we believe the Christian life of love and reconciliation is the true way to happiness, not only for the here and now but for ever.  It’s interesting to note just how far Jesus would go for reconciliation.  In today’s Gospel when Jesus tells us to make every effort to achieve reconciliation, he makes a kind of ironic comment.  He says if nothing works, then treat the other as you would a Gentile or a tax collector; but he himself wouldn’t stop even there.  He embraced both Gentiles and tax collectors and thereby changed their hearts.   Our Gospel today was written by a tax collector, Matthew, who ended up giving his life for the sake of love and reconciliation.

We’re also here because we know how often and how easily we don’t really live out what we say we believe.  When love breaks down in even the most intimate of our relationships with others, with family and neighbors, co-workers and even fellow worshippers, we know we need God’s grace to give us the strength and courage to seek reconciliation and renew lost love.  It’s here in this place that we are nourished by word and sacrament so we can go back out into our often sick and unjust society and try to renew it.   That’s what Jesus asks of us;  and, as Ezechial reminds us, in our first reading, that ‘s not just a nice thing to do; it’s absolutely necessary for our own good.  Speaking as God’s prophet, he utters some very sobering words.   He says, “if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself”.  If nothing else motivates us, perhaps we could let those words take root in our hearts and shape our reaction to evil.

If, for example, simple love doesn’t move us to take a stand against the prevailing evil of our day, the killing of the unborn, then maybe Ezechial’s words will drive us on.  Who knows, his words might be just what the Christian community needs on a grand scale to become really committed pro-lifers.  Heaven knows how hard it is for the dedicated 20% or so of our citizens who tirelessly sustain the battle for the rights of the unborn.  Resisted politically and socially, ridiculed and vilified, the object of unfair laws and unconstitutional court decrees, they still won’t give up as they try to love the abortionists out of evil ways.  They could certainly use every Christian’s help.  How sad it is that many who join with them for worship are so resistant to join with them in the pro-life cause.  Unfortunately, it’s so much easier to look the other way, to flip on the TV and grab another beverage, than to get involved.

Perhaps, as we approach the altar for our share of the Body and Blood of Jesus today, we could plead with God to fill our hearts with a thirst for peace because only a peaceful person will long to seek reconciliation with even the unlovable among us, no matter what the cost.  Jesus, Matthew, and Paul all gave up their lives for that cause.  Could we at least give up some of our comfort and security?  There’s no doubt that Jesus wants us to do just that so, as the Psalmist says, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”.


Homily # 6

Readings: Ezekiel 33: 7-9; Romans 13: 8-10; Matthew 18: 15-20

I

Special Prayer Intention

Take just a moment and to think about the most difficult human relationship in your life at this moment.

For many of us, it may involve a relationship within our family – with a spouse or a child or a parent or a sibling or an in-law.  For some of us, it may involve a neighbor, or a fellow parishioner or a friend where our relationship has become strained or wounded.  For some of us, it maybe someone with whom we work or we encounter through our work responsibilities.  Who is the person with whom you have the greatest difficulty at this moment?

I suggest that you make that person and that relationship your particular prayer intention for the Eucharist this morning.  Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you discern what you can do to heal or begin to heal this relationship.  Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you so that you can better understand the source of the problem.

II

If We are the Problem, Asking For the Grace To Change

In some cases, we maybe the source of the problem or at least partially the source of the problem.  In the Eucharist this morning, ask the Lord to recognize what you can do to bring about a positive change in this most vexing relationship.  Ask for the strength and courage to make the necessary changes in your own life.

In one sense, it is easier if we are the problem and we are the one who needs to make significant changes.  Then, it is primarily in our control to bring about healing and reconciliation in this relationship.   It maybe difficult for us: 1) to face into our own sins, 2) to apologize and 3) to make the necessary changes.  Yet, at least, we have the ability to effect change, if we really want change.

III

Mercy the Heart of the Gospel Message

            Our Gospel passage deals with the more difficult scenario, when we are not the source of the problem. Today’s Gospel passage is one of the most challenging and at the same time one of the most useful teachings as we grapple with the ramifications of our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of others.

Jesus gives very specific instructions on how we are to respond when a fellow Christian has sinned against us and has harmed us.  Jesus is not giving the disciples permission to rip into each other.  The passage presumes the context of the rest of the teaching of Jesus that calls the disciple to humility, kindness and compassion.

This passage has to be understood in the context of the Parable of the Tax-Collector and the Pharisee.  Remember Jesus said that the Tax-Collector went home justified because of his simple humble prayer: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  And the Pharisee did not go home justified as he prayed: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector.”

Jesus frequently warns the disciples that they must not judge less they be judged.  He cautions them not to try to tear up the weeds because they will destroy the wheat.  Jesus instructs the disciples even in their prayer to ask the Father to forgive them in the manner in which they have forgiven others.  In next week’s Gospel, Jesus challenges Peter and the disciples not to forgive seven times but seven times seventy times.

Mercy is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to bring mercy.  Jesus came not only to bring the Father’s mercy to a sinful world, but to unleash mercy in the hearts of forgiven sinners.

IV

Confronting Personally and Privately the Other

With all of those caveats and cautions, what do we do when we see someone hurting and harming us and inevitably hurting and harming themselves in the process?

Jesus challenges us to fight what are some of our natural, sinful instincts.

First, Jesus tells us to go directly to the person and confront them with honesty and charity.  With this instruction, Jesus is also telling us what not to do.  Namely, we are not to go and tell everyone else about the hurt and injury done to us.   We are not to publicize the sin of another.

V

Forgotten Sins of Calumny and Detraction

            One of the worst sins we can commit is calumny.  Calumny is lying about another person and destroying their reputation.   There is a lot of calumny that goes on in our world.  We often find it in political campaigns and tabloids.  We also find it, unfortunately, in network news and respected newspapers.  More pertinently, we also find calumny on church parking lots and at coffee breaks and around kitchen tables and in telephone conversations.  It is a terrible thing to damage with falsehood another’s reputation.

Yet, we do not have to say something untrue about another to sin.  “Detraction” is also a sin.  Detraction is saying what is true about a person to others, when there is no legitimate need to say it.  Detraction is damaging the reputation of another person with what may be true, but what is unnecessary for us to say.  It is a sin to damage another person’s reputation.  St. Paul counsels:  “Say only the good things others need to hear, things that will truly help them.”  We have no right to trash the reputation of another, even if what we say about them is partially or even completely true.

VI

Confronting and Intervening With Truth and Love

            At the same time, Jesus tells us that we cannot ignore the evil that someone is doing to us and to themselves.  We have an obligation in charity to try to help them to recognize what they are doing and to give them opportunity to change.

Long before 12-step programs came into existence, the Gospel taught that it is wrong to be what is termed in contemporary jargon an “enabler.”   We need to have the courage to speak the truth to the other person with honesty and love.

Ignoring speaking to another about something that is harmful and dangerous for them because we fear their reaction is not charity, it is cowardice.  It would be a false compassion that would keep us from telling our neighbors their house is on fire because we did not want to upset them.

If someone does something wrong that has hurt us or offended us, then the Christian response is to confront that person privately with honesty and love.   If a         one-on-one encounter is not successful, Jesus describes the next step to be what today would be termed an intervention.  For the person to be able to see the truth, we may need to engage others whom the person respects and will find difficult to ignore.

In the case where an individual is struggling with a chemical addiction, it often takes an intervention of close family and friends to motivate the addict, who is in denial, to admit his or her problem.  The purpose for the confrontation by an individual or an intervention by the group is not for everyone to vent what has been bothering them, it is to help the individual recognize the truth about himself.  It is only with the admission there is a problem that real change becomes possible.

If the Lord is calling us to confront another, then we need to pray fervently for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We must pray for the words that will truly benefit the other.  We need to speak not from anger, but with genuine love.  The purpose of our words must not be to hurt the other person because they have hurt us.  Our words must be aimed at helping the other person.  We must ask for the grace to speak the truth with love.

Moreover, we must ask for the grace not to take offense if the other person reacts negatively or with anger.  We must seek the help of the Holy Spirit not to weaken in telling the truth because the other person does not want to hear what we are saying.  Our responsibility is to speak the truth with love.  We cannot take responsibility for the manner in which the other person chooses to hear our message.

VII

Persevering In Love and Mercy

            Jesus says something very interesting when He allows for the possibility that the other person “refuses to listen.”  Jesus says that we should treat him as we would a Gentile or tax collector.

At first, that seems rather harsh.  Yet, when we think about how Jesus treated Gentiles and tax collectors, this means that we must continue to love them and reach out to them.  Remember that Matthew himself was a reformed tax collector and Jesus was criticized for associating with him.

VIII

Gift of Confession

            The Gospel reminds us that Jesus entrusted to the Church the power to be his instrument in bestowing mercy.  We are reminded that one of the great resources we have as Catholics is the sacrament of Confession.

Regular use of the sacrament of Reconciliation helps us recognize our own sin and our need to change.  Moreover, through our experience of God’s mercy for us, it gives us the grace to be merciful with others.

Confession can help us make the changes that we need to make to heal the broken relationships in our lives.  After admitting our sin to the Lord through the sacrament, Jesus often gives us the strength to admit our own faults to those whom we have hurt and to seek their forgiveness.

In Confession, we need to ask for mercy for the times that we have spoken ill of another and damaged their reputation.  We need to seek forgiveness for our sins of calumny and detraction.  In Confession, we can also seek the grace to be able to speak the truth with love to someone who is engaging in destructive behavior that is hurtful to them and to others.

IX

Prayer To Seek and To Give Mercy

            Let us conclude our reflection on God’s word with a prayer to the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit:

Heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for sending your Son into our world to seek us out when we were lost.  Give us the wisdom and desire to use frequently the gift of sacramental Confession.  Through it unleash within our hearts the grace of mercy so that we may never grow weary of helping others who have lost their way.

Lord Jesus, help us to recognize the presence of sin in our hearts.  Give us the grace to see where our actions or our words have hurt and wounded another.  Lord Jesus, give us the courage to admit our faults and to seek forgiveness from those whom we have offended.  Keep us from ever saying things about another that hurt their good name and reputation.

Holy Spirit, we call upon you to give us wisdom so that we can speak the truth with love to others.  Give us the words to say difficult things in a way that will help others see the truth.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give us what we need through this Eucharist so that we may do whatever is necessary to begin to heal our relationship with that person for whom we specially offer our Mass today.   Amen.


Homily # 7

1st Reading Ezekiel 33:7-9 & Gospel Matt 18: 15-20

“I have appointed you as a sentry”  “Warn the wicked man”  —  You have a duty to do this!  If you don’t you will be held responsible by God! — says Ezekiel.  And Matthew re-enforces this statement in the Gospel today.  “If your brother does something wrong, have it out with him privately, then with a witness, then with the community.  Do all you can to warn him and help him change his ways.  You have the responsibility!

We Catholics, I think are a little uncomfortable with this view.  Could it be that we have become a little insular?  We are sinners – forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ – forgiven in the sacrament of reconciliation, confession and absolution?  A personal salvation experience – and we are united with our Lord in the celebration of the Mass.  Taking responsibility for ourselves, excluding others.

How often do we look after ourselves, leaving those who have fallen by the way – or even those who just have no interest – to their own devices, without any challenge, because we are more comfortable in our cocoon of our personal encounters with our Lord.

Members of the more outgoing charismatic churches often shock us by their direct challenges to those with little or no religious commitments.  One such person was a nurse I knew who worked in a geriatric home.  She had the nerve – or guts – or faith conviction, call it what you like – to confront those who were near the stage of dying, saying to them “Have you made your peace with God?” — “Oh you don’t know God – don’t you think it’s about time you made the effort – or that you gave it some thought? – The clock is ticking you know – and God is waiting”.  Shocking statements, ill timing, you might say – but isn’t that what we are being told quite clearly to do today?

I often think it is the women who carry the flame of religion.  The wives and mothers, who are the “worshipers” and often one may see the wife or mother in church, praying for her family. praying for her children – putting them in God’s hands – for God to deal with, and good for them – at least they are doing something – even if it is sort of passing the buck.  We Catholics [men and women alike] are often guilty of saying – or thinking – my friend – my partner – my child – an associate – is on the wrong track, I’ll pray for him or her.  “Conversion from a distance” – nice and clean – no personal contact or involvement.

But God is saying NO “I will hold you – you personally responsible!”  God, in the time of Ezekiel, was trying to mobilize the people to take responsibility for each other and turn each other back to him – to convert those who had fallen away, and thereby to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  It was a life and death situation for all.  And Matthew was proclaiming the same message.  Take responsibility and use every possible means to convert “your brother” – your family – friend – acquaintance.

This is the same message the Spirit is speaking to our hearts today.  Take on the missionary responsibility you inherited at you baptism – get your hands dirty for God – be actively involved and use every means available to turn you brother, friend, partner, child around.  It is NOT enough for you to be a good, participating, Christian while leaving others to their own devices, specially when they may be close family members!  You must speak out – privately – then if that fails, call on the assistance of friends and the community – you need to do everything possible before you relent and leave them be.

This is serious – if you don’t – you carry the blame!  If you love them – you will do this and our God of love will be with you.


Homily # 8

Love your neighbor as yourself. Have you ever really thought about that statement? Love your neighbor as yourself. As much as you love yourself! That’s pretty hard to do. First of all, who are these neighbors?

Today we consider our neighbors as the people who live next door or across the street. Now besides neighbors, we have relatives, good friends, friends, associates and acquaintences. Some we love, some we like and some neither. So to love everyone as ourselves is going to take some doing. Now do we agree that we like a lot more persons than we love?

But wait a minute, Our Lord doesn’t agree with that. He loves a lot more people than He likes. He loves all persons and He asks us to do the same. Everyone should be our” neighbor”. There were probably some individuals that Christ didn’t like in His time because of their behavior, but He still loved them because they were part of Him, made to His image and likeness.

If we believe that Christ lives in us and we live in Christ it follows that we love our neighbor as we love God and we are part of Him. So our greatest motivation should be our love for Jesus.

A newspaper writer was visiting Mother Teresa in a Calcutta Hospital several years ago and found her comforting a dying A.I.D.S. patient as she held him in her arms. The reporter said “Mother, I wouldn’t do what your’e doing for a million dollars”.Mother replied, “I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars either, but I do do it for love.

Mother Teresa realized how much Our Lord has done for her and for all of us. He lived for us, He died for us, He made it possible for us to enjoy eternal happiness with Him; and all He asks is that we love one another.

We can’t all be Mother Teresas, but we can appreciate the faith that allowed her to fill her life with love for her neighbors regardless of their status in life. Throughout history, man has had preferences and prejudices. In our second reading, today, St. James chides his followers for wanting to associate with the better dressed and seemingly better off of their neighbors to sit with them.

Do we have a tendency to choose our friends or associates from those who are like us in looks, color, behavior, dress, life style, educational background, beliefs, social skills or income levels? But just think what a minute fraction of the world’s population this is. Every day, in our cities, we see persons we have never seen before. Do we pass them by without a thought or a glance or do we look their way, give them a smile or an act of kindness if the opportunity presents itself? If you get a chance to give a smile, watch for the happy smile in return, it never fails.

It doesn’t take much to know your neighbor. We have global communication which gives us knowledge of persons around the world. Think of the peoples of a different country. What do they do? What is their life like? Say a prayer for them that their life is a happy one. A great time to do this is as you wait in line to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, as you approach His altar. In this minute or two, say to Jesus, “I’m thinking and praying for all of Your family because You love them just as you love me and please help me to love my neighbor as myself. That’s a tough one, but with Your help I’ll make it.


Homily # 9

If we had the choice of living a century ago, in the horse and buggy days with noelectricity, no indoor plumbing and none of our modem conveniences, or of living today in our modem world of convenience we would certainly choose today. At least I would choose today for many reasons. But if I had the choice of living either today or in the times of Jesus Christ, I might have to think about that decision for a long time.
Just imagine, spiritually what would it have been like to actually encounter visually the personality of Jesus and to witness His many miracles! What would my faith be like if I experienced His tremendous charisma — if I saw Him walking on the lake (Mt 4, 22) – or if I saw His first miracle of changing water into wine at the marriage feast ofCana (Jo 2,1)- or if I was in the boat when He calmed the sea during a terrible storm (Mk 4, 39). Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to believe if I were there when He raised Lazarus from the dead (Jo 4,17)? Or if I had been in the crowd of five thousand when He multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed the entire group, and still have ten baskets of fragments remaining? Perhaps you have thought about this and have asked yourself this question. I have though quite often about it and have at times envied those “lucky” people of 2000 years ago. How easy it must have been to have a strong faith in the Person Jesus with whom they talked and shared His life experiences! But then on second thought, it may not have been so easy. Two thousand years ago in Judea I probably would have been an orthodox Jew. To accept Jesus would have meant to change completely my firm belief in Yahweh with no possibility of a Triune God. His concept of love, of ever loving one’s enemy (Lk 6, 27) would have been hard to accept by one who had been taught to believe in the law of the talon. To have been told, as was the rich young man who asked Jesus about salvation (Mt 19, 16), that I would have to give up all my possessions and follow the life style of Jesus Himself, after having been taught all my life that prosperity was a gift of God and a sign of God’s good favor. That must have been very difficult. Or to be told that one must eat His Body and drink His Blood to be saved – wouldn’t that be considered as some type oftheistic cannibalism?

Maybe it wasn’t so easy to believe in Jesus, even though one personally experienced all of His miracles, such as the miracles of today’s gospel. Maybe faith was more difficult back then than it is today. The truth is: no matter what age we live in faith is a gift from God. Jesus said very clearly in the parable of the vine and the branches (Jn 15,1): “without me you can do nothing.” In other words, whether we were to live during the life of Jesus or in the twenty-first century, to have faith in Jesus and His teachings would be a grace, given by God Himself. As the Council of Trent has explained this matter as a doctrine of the Catholic Church: “the starting point of justification is the antecedent grace of God Himself.” So, just as it is very difficult for us today, at times at least, to be truly faithful believers, so was it difficult for the early disciples to believe. In either case, at any time of history, faith is totally a gift of God.

So, today’s gospel reading about the miracles of Jesus should elicit severalfeelings within us. Firstly, we should feel extremely grateful for the grace of faith. God has given us a tremendous grace for eternal salvation, and we should so cherish that gift that we respond fully in cooperating with it. Secondly, we should remember the words of Jesus to St. Thomas after His resurrection when He appeared a second time to the apostles in the upper room: “Blessed are they, Thomas, who have not seen and yet believe.” We believe in the miracles of Jesus through the revelation of the New Testament. We have not been given the choice of living during the time of Jesus and actually seeing His divine power, or living today with the gift of faith in His revelation. Maybe we are more fortunate for being born when we were.


Homily # 10

What is the explanation for the very unusual actions of our Lord in the Gospel event of today? “Jesus took him off by himself away from the crowd.  He put his fingers into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and emitted a groan.  He said to him, “Ephphatha!”  (that is, “Be opened!”)  At once the man’s ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak plainly.” An unusual way of acting by the Lord.

I remember, from somewhere in the past, an explanation that was based on the fact that the man who was suffering was dumb and blind.  He could not speak nor could he hear.  So Jesus used this method to communicate with him: touching his ears and his tongue (the organs of hearing and speech) to let the man know what he was doing. He was going to help the man with those imperfect faculties.

In any instance, the event brings to our reflection the subject of miracles and the interest of the people of the Lord’s time and the people of our time today in the subject. The glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “miracle” as: “A sign of wonder, such as a healing or the control of nature, which can only be attributed to divine powers.  The miracles of Jesus were messianic signs of the presence of God’s kingdom.”

Our modern idea of “miracle” contains and is colored by the activities of the world famous magicians of our day.  It is by illusion, sleight of hand, trickery, even complicated and expensive machines and stage settings that they accomplish their “magic”.  Jesus was no David Copperfield and David Copperfield is no Jesus. Who knows how much of Jesus’ works were the result of 100% divine power or his making use of the abilities of nature that are unknown to us? So many of the amazing powers of nature are completely unknown to us.

Today, if one observes the life of a hospital or place of care for the sick, injured and frail, he finds that many amazing things are taking place.  People are being healed from some of the most awful and dangerous diseases and afflictions.  The progress in medicine and science is breathtaking.  Just think of the advances made in the past century.  Some diseases have been wiped off the face of the earth. Most of this is the result of man through the will of God using the gift of intelligence that God has given him to overcome many painful and debilitating afflictions.

Would I dare say that very seldom does what we normally think of as the true, pure miracle take place?   How many miracles of this type have you seen or even heard of? But miracle after miracle takes place when we do use the talents, the gifts of intelligence and nature to combat disease and the causes of suffering and unhappiness that is in our midst.  Within the boundaries of the world of nature are to be found many, many wonderful means of healing and curing.

One of the important causes of “miracles” in the health care world, is when and if all those gifted people doctors, nurses, technicians, lab personnel, et al put to use those talents and abilities that God has given them for just this purpose: the healing and curing of man and his diseases and afflictions.  There is tremendous ability to cure and heal to be found in the capabilities of men and women, who by and through God’s gifts, work to accomplish His will.

It used to be that “miracle” contained the element of working against and overcoming the laws of nature.  That may have been the prerogative and the power of Jesus to so use and/or contradict the powers of nature. Witness his controlling of the storms, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, etc.  But the miracles we know of today are not accomplished through and by the use of that Divine power.  At least, not very often.

People in our Lord’s time, so it seems, often wanted Him to perform miracles just so they could say they had seen Him work, the “wonder-worker”.  Something like people today buying tickets to attend the shows of the famous wonder workers of the magic world today.   But Jesus knew their carryings-on and would not fall for their small thinking.  He made use of miracles, however He did it, to prove the importance of faith and trust in divine power.  His was not a bunch of ‘abbacadabra’s’ or ‘hocus-pocus’ types of showmanship.  He was not using words and actions and devices to pull some illusion over your eyes.  He was much more serious and with a deeper and higher motive in mind.  He was proving and displaying the power and presence of God in the midst of man, and how important it was to have faith in it.

There is nothing wrong is praying and hoping for a miracle.  But too often the whole process becomes, unhappily, a sort of superstition or improper expectation of divine largess.  So often the people of the Gospel stories asked Jesus for signs, demanded signs, begged that the ‘magic-worker’ show His stuff.  Jesus was very outspoken with and about them.   Remember Lazarus, the rich man, and Dives!   Remember when the Scribes and Pharisees said, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”  Jesus immediately told them they were “an evil and unfaithful generation” and if they could not see the power of God before them, they were not going to get any working of wonders to substantiate it.  His life, his words, his death and his resurrection were enough to explain who and what he was.

The presence of God and his power is all around us: in the smile of the baby, the power of the storm, the wonder of the natural world, the powerful and precise movements of the universe, the amazing structure of the human body, and millions and millions of other works of God in our midst.  He has given us plenty of signs to see and know Him. Don’t become deaf, dumb and blind to His amazing and wonderful power.  Rather, accept it and use it as He wills it be accepted and used.  Miracles by the dozens will be forthcoming.


Homily # 11

In our local paper this week we saw an interesting article on the new Archbishop of Boston-he call himself Archbishop Sean.

The Archbishop’s secretary called him and told him they had a visitor who said he was Jesus Christ and asked what should she do!

The archbishop said “look busy.”

While this is humorous it is also very true-Jesus wants us to be busy with his mission on earth!

There are many ways this can be done-lets look at a few ;

(1) will people be able to see that we are Catholic by the way we live?
(2) If we were put on trial for being a Catholic would we be convicted ?
(3) Do we have the “guts” to stand up for our faith in public?
(4) Do we ignore the “unpopular” teachings of our church and still receive the Eucharist ?
(5) Are all of our friends and relatives fully aware of our position on issues?
(6) Do we fully share our God-given gifts with others?

These and many others are quick tests to see if we are helping to complete God/s mission on earth!

Our readings at each Mass can also give us the needed message from God that we all need to help us do that.

Lets look at our readings of today:

Our 1st reading tells us how our Lord has come to save us all from fear-to give us all what we need-All we needs is to accept the faith given. Our 2nd reading warns us to not become judges of others, but rather to see that God has indeed chosen the “poor” in the world as heirs to Heaven! The “poor” of course need not be those in poverty but rather those poor in Spirit who see their full need of God.

Then as usual opu Gospel “fleshes-out” our message by telling us Jesus has gone to the area of Decapolis! This area was one of the most notorious in the world in our Lord/s day-it was a den for prostitutes and crooks.-it was the area that the “prodigal son” visited to squander his money on loose women!

By our Lord doing this he is showing us how we also need to reach out to people of all walks of life not just the clean and nice people.

So here again we are hearing our Lord/s message telling us how we are to help
fulfill his mission on earth.

Our Lord is telling us that while our faith will save us he expects us to help complete his mission on earth!

He reminds us that we are the only minds, feet and hands he has on earth-IF WE DON’T DO IT WHO WILL?


Homily # 12

In our Gospel Reading, Saint Mark tells us how Jesus left the territory of Tyre, which today is a city in southern Lebanon.  He passed through Sidon, on his way to the Sea of Galilee, going through the region of Decapolis, which in Greek means, “ten towns.”  It was called this because of the ten towns that were located in that area.  He had previously distanced himself from Jewish territory because the Pharisees and the Jewish authorities were turning against him.  We suppose that he also went to preach to the pagans who lived in this area.  The regions surrounding Tyre, Sidon and Decapolis were inhabited mostly by pagans.  Curiously, it was in this area that the Lord discovered pagans of great faith.  They not only had faith in him, but also in his ministry.

In fact, Our Gospel Reading today tells us about the curing of a deaf man who had a speech impediment and who, because of his physical ailments, had to be taken to the Lord by other people.  The people who accompanied this man were the ones who asked Jesus to “lay hands on him” and cure him.  When Jesus saw the faith of the people who had brought the man to him, he took him aside and cured him.  He then pleaded with the people not to talk to anyone about this cure.  But Saint Mark tells us that the more that Jesus asked them to do so, the more they proclaimed it everywhere.

In his Gospel, each time that Saint Mark uses the word, “proclaim” in relation to Jesus and his disciples, it is to explain how they preached the Gospel.  By using, on this occasion, the same word, it is as if Saint Mark wanted to tell us that by loudly proclaiming what had occurred, the pagans were actually proclaiming the Gospel, the salvific mission of Jesus.  By curing the sick in this predominantly pagan region, Jesus clearly shows us that he not only came to save the Chosen People, the Jews, but all of humanity.

Today we know that people with hearing and speech impediments have many ways of being viable members of society.  In Jesus times, they did not have that opportunity.  It is also true that today there are many ways of reading and listening to the Word of God.  Because of this, there need not be any people who are spiritually deaf or speechless.  What we do know is that the worst type of deafness that anyone can suffer occurs when someone does not want to hear or read about God.

We probably have seen many times, in our relationships with family, friends, and even at work, that when we talk about God we are made to feel as if we had done something wrong.  We feel as if people were attacking us and we can see that some people are infuriated by something.  And we ask ourselves, “what did I say to make this people react this way, to anger him or her and make him or her attack me?”  The reason that people like this get angry is that they do not want to hear anything about God.  Just saying, “God” is enough to anger them.  They live with their backs turned to God.  We have to be prepared for these embarrassing situations.  We should also understand, at the same time, that we can not hide, in any situation, anywhere, that, whether others like it or not, we have chosen to follow God and we talk about God, just as we talk about everyone we love.  We should know, and try to prepare ourselves mentally for the fact that we will have to live through situations like this and that many times we will find people who contradict us.  That should not stop us from talking about the Word and about our love of God, even though this may anger and even infuriate others, including those who are most loved by us.  Since the beginnings of Christianity, we Christians have been looked down on, contradicted, and even persecuted for proclaiming our faith.

When we feel that we are under attack, let us not feel bad.  Our reaction should be the following: love God even more and proclaim the Word even more.

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23rd Sunday Ordinary (B)/Healing of a Deaf Man
  Is 35:4-7/ Ps 116 / Jas 2:1-5/ Mk 7:31-37
 By Fr. Vargas
Introduction
      Songs of the 1960’s were more meaningful. You can really feel every word of the songs. Nowadays songs are too loud that we can hardly understand their lyrics. In this present and loud generation, we never know who is deaf and who are not, whose ear need to be opened and whose not.
Background

1.

The use Greek word “Ephphatha!” (Be opened) have two meanings: (1) the gate of heaven was closed when Adam and Eve sinned. Christ’s coming “opened” its door for us once again. The healing of the deaf man tells us that God has worked to restore the perfection of creation in its original form. (2) The egoistic attitude of the Jews closed themselves from the world. They always thought that they were the chosen people of God, they alone deserve salvation. When Jesus’ came, “he opened” the doors of salvation to the Gentiles and to the rest of the world. They dealt with all people, rich and the poor alike

2.

For Mark, Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of all the prophecies of Isaiah. When Jesus touched his tongue (in those days people believed that spittle had a curative quality) he fulfilled the prophecies of Isaiah about the messiah. We heard in the first reading: the Messiah will offer words of comfort and strength to the poor and heal the sick – i.e., the blind, the deaf, the lame and the tongue-tied. In the second reading, James counteracts early Christian communities who associate themselves only with the rich and the powerful. For James, Jesus was the messiah who hears the voice of the poor and the weak.

3.

During those days, it was more embarrassing to be a deaf man than it is to be blind. Deafness and speech impediment separate individuals from the community. If a man could not hear, then he could not hear God’s word. If he had a speech impediment, he could not praise God in the assembly. He was isolated, both spiritually and physically. This person couldn’t participate in the community. In healing this man, Jesus fully restored his relationship with God and to the rest of the community.
Reflections

1.

People brought him a deaf man”- the prayer of petition of the community is powerful. Praying for each other is man’s greatest gift to a brother in great need.

2.

Jesus “touched” his tongue. May Jesus touch us by his words (in the bible and prayers) and may his “touch” loosen our tongues and open our ears to moral issues in our present society especially that of abortion and corruption.

3.

Be opened” We have to be open to the suggestions and constructive criticisms of our friends. Some people open their ears only to the words they want to hear. Our pride should not close our ears from the inner voice of conscience.

4.

Like the deaf man we should use our mouths in “praising and thanking the Lord,” (and not to using it to put others down). They (not only he), it’s the whole community who rejoiced when they saw Jesus healing the deaf man. We should rejoice, when the quality of life of our neighbors become better than us or officemates promoted faster we do. May no jealousy and envy, hinder our tongue from praising the Lord for his goodness. There should be no room for any “crab mentality” whenever we see from see many good things happened to other people.

5.

The acclaim of the crowd, “He has done all things well,” means that Jesus performed not only physical healing but also spiritual healing. If Jesus wants deaf ears to hear, much more does he wants to deaf man to hear his voice in prayer. What Christ wants for us is a complete healing.  As St. Irenaeus would put: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
Conclusion
        We can not deny that many people still love the sweet romantic songs of the 60’s. That’s why it came back again in a different form; either through revivals or acoustic songs. We still believe that music is not a matter of the loudness of a song but a matter of a serenity of a heart.Sometimes it is not a question of being physically deaf or mute before you can hear things right. Oftentimes it only takes “an open heart” and “a peaceful soul” in order to hear the true voice of God coming from within.

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Word Alive

Helping the deaf mute

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

September 4, 2009, 5:31pm

After a golden wedding anniversary Mass, the 85-year-old husband looked at his 84-year-old wife who was practically deaf and beamed: “I’m proud of you.” The wife became angry and replied: “I’m also tired of you!”

He repeated himself, “No, I said ‘I’m proud of you.’” And the wife shot back: “I told you. I’m also tired of you!”

* * *

How difficult it is to be deaf. More so to be both deaf and mute as this 23rd Sunday gospel relates.

That’s why the Lord, out of compassion, heals a deaf-mute man.

In his commentary on the episode, Biblical author William Barclay says, “Most people find deaf folks a nuisance.

* * *

“They sympathize with people who are blind and lame, but they get irritated and annoyed with people who are deaf. And the result is that deaf people are apt to avoid company and get more and more shut in.”

* * *

The great compassion of Jesus tells us more in the way He cured him. The gospel tells us that Jesus took the man away from the crowd, which shows His sensitivity to the situation of the embarrassed handicapped man.

* * *

“Deaf mutes” are not only the people handicapped in speech and hearing as in the gospel story, but also the social deaf-mutes – those who have no voice or influence in society, those to whom no one listens.

Helping them is one way of thanking God for the great gifts of our speech and hearing which, more often than not, we take for granted.

* * *

Another way of being grateful is to use these faculties as God intended. We abuse our speech faculty by lying, by calumny or slander, or when we destroy the good name of others through false rumors.

Bear in mind. An ugly rumor or a destructive gossip that’s carelessly passed on, can never be recalled.

* * *

This is illustrated by the story of a town gossiper who was given a strange penance by a priest to bring up a building a bag full of feathers, then throw them in the air. Much as she wanted to collect the feathers, she could no longer do it because they’ve been scattered by the wind to the four geographical corners.

We may regret a destructive gossip, but like the strewn feathers, we can never take it back. And the harm is done.

* * *

Finally, are we deaf-mute to our faults and wrongdoings? The story is told about a priest inside the confessional box hearing the confession of his sacristan.

After confiding his sins, the priest thought he forgot to confess some “big” ones so he said, “You forgot to mention that you made ‘kupit’ from the collection box and drank Mass wine in the sacristy.”

* * *

Complete silence followed. The priest went out of the confessional and said, “Hey, why don’t you answer. Can’t you hear anything?”

“Not a single word, Father!” the sacristan replied. “Okay, let’s exchange places. Talk and I’ll listen,” the priest said.

In a solemn voice, the sacristan began, “Father, why are you not giving me my sick leave benefit, SSS, and living allowance?”

The priest rushed out and said, “You’re right. I cannot hear anything from that side!”

* * *

This is just a joke but it conveys the lesson: More often than not, we are deaf to our own faults. As much as possible we do not want to admit our mistakes and wrongdoings.

Let’s ask ourselves: Are we moved by pity to reach out to our handicapped brethren or more by annoyance?

* * *

Are we grateful to God for our healthy speech and hearing and show it by helping the handicapped?

Are we deaf to our own faults and failings?

As Jesus’ disciples, let’s imitate His compassion.

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Moments

Open up

By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:46:00 09/06/2009

SOME years ago, we had with us on a pilgrimage trip an elderly person who had no voice due to a throat operation. He was a quiet presence in our midst. He was also an amazingly funny guy, especially when he would wink at us whenever he lined up at the customs area in the queue that a sign said was for those with: “Nothing to Declare.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mark 7, 31-37), Jesus heals a deaf-mute and empowers him with the tremendous gift of speech and hearing. Speaking and hearing are our God-given abilities that we should not take lightly or for granted.

* * *

Note that Jesus empowered the mute to speak and the deaf to hear. If you are one who prevents people from speaking the truth or from hearing the truth, you are on the wrong side of history.

* * *

As a deaf person cannot speak, in the same way someone who does not listen to the Word of God cannot and should not speak the Word of God.

* * *

I have been doing a lot of speaking to Filipino communities in the United States these days. I also have been doing a lot of listening to their hopes and dreams and aspirations. Basically, they hope for better times financially, dream of more peaceful homes and relationships, and aspire for a better and less corrupt Philippines. I hope our present and our upcoming leaders are really listening.

* * *

These are days of listening too for Senator Noynoy Aquino as he discerns God’s will and the people’s clamor for him as a public servant. This is a very good example to other aspiring public servants to remind them that public office is not something that can be bought and manipulated, much less, something that can be stolen or perpetuated. In other words, they must listen to God’s will and the people’s will, not their own personal greed and ambition.

* * *

Speaking of public servants, is our country still open to have as public servants people who have no money or party to win an election? Do people who have the ability and the sincerity to serve the people even have a chance at all, or has public service become the monopoly (and business) of those who have the money, the party and the political lineage in their family?

* * *

Jesus told the deaf-mute today: “Ephphata.” This means “Be opened.” This is also Jesus’ message to us today. Are there areas in our lives that need to be opened and exposed to God’s grace and healing? Are there relationships that have to be unlocked? Are there bad habits, biases or hang-ups that need to be disposed of? Finally, are there hurts, guilt, worries or regrets that need to be surrendered to God’s unconditional power and love?

* * *

We pay tribute today to Father Danny “Butch” Fajardo of Sorsogon, who, in the words of Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, “lived an extraordinary life of suffering as a paraplegic for 25 years due to a vehicular accident as a young priest … who offered all his sorrows and pains to the Lord for the good of the Church.” Yes, they say little who love much.

* * *

We remember also today the “silent majority” in our midst who have no voice, who have no say, and are pretty much forgotten or taken for granted by people and society. May we give them a listening ear, an understanding heart and empowering love.

* * *

Remember Charlie Chaplin, the king of “silent movies” then? He was supposed to have said these touching statements: “Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles”;

“I like walking in the rain because nobody can see my tears”; “The most wasted day in life is the day in which we have not laughed.”

* * *

All over the world, all over America, Filipinos are able to attend the Mass through “The Healing Eucharist” via TFC of ABS-CBN which is aired every Sunday, 6 a.m., here in Manila.

I am the celebrant every second Sunday. Praise God for the opportunity to speak God’s word and to be listened to worldwide via radio and television!

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, open my ears to really listen to you, and open my mouth to praise and glorify you. Amen.

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Word Alive

Physical And Spiritual Deaf-Mutes

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

September 7, 2012, 10:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — The gospel episode for this 23rd Sunday relates about Jesus healing a deaf-mute man (Mark 7:31).

In His commentary on the episode, Biblical author William Barclay says, “Most people find deaf folks a nuisance. They sympathize with people who are blind and lame, but they get irritated and annoyed with people who are deaf. And the result is that deaf people are apt to avoid company and get more and more shut in.”

* * *

No wonder, Jesus took pity on the man and healed him. The great COMPASSION of Jesus tells us more in the way He cured him. The gospel tells us that Jesus took the man away from the crowd, which shows his sensitivity to the situation of the embarrassed handicapped man.

* * *

Helping the deaf and mute is one way of THANKING God for the great gifts of our speech and hearing which, more often than not, we take for granted.

“Deaf-mutes” are not only the people handicapped in speech and hearing as in the gospel story, but also the social deaf-mutes – those who have no voice or influence in society, those to whom no one listens.

* * *

While we are thankful to the Lord for our healthy speech and hearing, we should not abuse them. We do this if we use our speech faculty by lying, by calumny or slander, or when we destroy the good name of others through false statements or telling the faults of one in order to put him/her down.

* * *

There is a story of a priest who gave penance to a known gossiper when she came for confession. He told her to bring a bag full of feathers up a tall building and throw them in the air. “After doing that,” the priest said, “go down and collect all the feathers. “But Father, that’s impossible to do,” the lady protested. “They’ve been scattered by the wind to far-flung places.” “That’s right,” the priest replied. “That’s what you do every time you talk bad or slander your fellowmen.”

An ugly rumor or a destructive gossip that’s carelessly passed on, can never be recalled. But the harm is done.

* * *

Another lesson of this Sunday gospel is that we can be SPIRITUALLY deaf. That is, when we do not want to admit our mistakes and wrongdoings. This is shown, for instance, when perpetrators of a crime refuse to admit it or try to cover it up. In the case of the Maguindanao massacre, the cover up is that the poor innocent victims reportedly killed each other!

* * *

Let’s ask ourselves: Are we grateful to God for our healthy faculties of speech and hearing and show it by helping the handicapped? Are we deaf to our own faults and failings?

Let’s imitate Jesus’ compassion and ask forgiveness from God if we have failed in helping our handicapped brethren.

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/372644/physical-and-spiritual-deafmutes

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September 9, 2012

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Green

Is 35:4-7a Ps 146
Jas 2:1-5
Mk 7:31-37

Mk 7:31-37
The Healing of a Deaf Man
31Again [Jesus] left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. 32And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; 34then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) 35And [immediately] the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. 36He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. 37They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.”

REFLECTION
Ephphatha! Be opened! Three words describe the story of the deaf man: hope, help, and healing. Hope. The deaf man is given hope by the people who bring him to Jesus. Greater hope is afforded him by the person and power of Jesus. The deaf man trusts that Jesus can do something for him and give him what he is hoping for—the return of his power of speech. Help. The people intervene to help the deaf man. They desire the man’s good and bring him to Jesus who they believe can help bring back the man’s hearing and speech. Healing. Jesus takes the man away from the crowd, touches the man’s ears and tongue, and commands the healing that opens his ears and removes his speech impediment. The deaf man receives what he and the people have prayed and hoped for. Jesus is our hope. He is always there to help and heal us. He also sends people to help us in our need.

When was the last time you brought a friend in need to Jesus?

http://www.ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1995-september-9-2012

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Moments

Are you listening?

By Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:26 pm | Saturday, September 8th, 2012

One time I was called to hear the confession of an 80-year-old man. I was told by the wife that I had to speak loud because her husband was kind of deaf. Halfway through the confession, I realized that he had perfect hearing! When I told him that his wife had said he was deaf, he gave me a silly grin and a wink. The guy had been faking deafness all along!

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 7, 37), we hear of Jesus curing a deaf man who had a speech impediment. Note that Jesus took the deaf man away from the crowd and there healed him. It is when we really listen that healing moments happen. Are we really listening?

* * *

It is a fast and noisy world we are living in, and a lot of us hardly have the time to make the necessary stop just to rest, reflect, and recharge. So focused on making a living, many of us just exist without a life worth living. So busy meeting a lot of people, many of us hardly connect with persons. So engrossed with the crowd, we hardly have time to be with and to really listen to God.

* * *

Please don’t wait for tragedy or sickness to come before you listen to God. Tone down on the world, and tone up on the Word. Tone down on your personal comfort and pursuits, and tone up on the cries of the poor and the needy all around.

* * *

During a recent trip, lawyer Nonoy Tan lent me his head set that had a “noise reduction” feature. Wow! It was an amazing experience. Suddenly the noise of the plane engine and the conversations of people around me were inaudible, and with the music so clear, I was able to relax and sleep well. Yes, we all need “noise reduction” moments so that we can experience peace and rejuvenation.

* * *

The late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s message to our country was loud and clear, but are we still listening? Let his death not be in vain. Let us continue to listen to his message for all of us as a nation. Let us also continue to search for and encourage Jesse Robredos in our respective localities. Let them shine so that we can eventually eradicate the agents of darkness that hover over and control us!

* * *

Reverend Father (Supt.) Jason Ortizo, chaplain of Camp Crame, related to me how Secretary Robredo requested him to visit his office two weeks before he died for “a very important concern.” It turned out that Sec Robredo wanted to receive the Sacrament of Penance, and he also donated his personal image of Our Lady for the chapel of Camp Crame. Father Jason also told me that he was so impressed when he blessed the modest and simple condominium unit of Sec Robredo on Morato Avenue. Politicians and government officials out there, are you listening?

* * *

Lawyer Mae Richelle Belmes sent me a text message that she had been appointed provincial election supervisor of Abra. She asked for prayers that God give her the wisdom, courage and strength to do her duty and to help reform the electoral process in the province. This 30-year-old, prayerful, and gutsy woman said she had a dream for her province. One with you in your dream to remove from the electoral process the three Gs of Guns, Goons and Gold, and to replace them with the three Gs of God, Goodness and Guts. It is with such people as Attorney Belmes, who are taken “away from the crowd,” that the light slowly but surely overcomes the darkness.

* * *

Yesterday was the birthday of Mama Mary, and also the birthday of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). The SVD in the Philippines continues to send Filipino missionaries abroad, the latest of whom is Fr. Raniel Nachimma, a 28-year-old, newly ordained priest from Mayoyao, Kalinga, who left for east Timor Leste last Sept. 7. Please continue to pray for and support our Filipino missionaries overseas.

* * *

Amidst the debate on the Reproductive Health bill, let us listen to what Confucius has to say: “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first set our hearts right.”

* * *

Think about this: “For a happy and peaceful life, don’t stress yourself with useless people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life; don’t invest too much emotion on one thing because if you do, you’ll end up hurting yourself; don’t worry too much because God is in control, and God will make a way.”

* * *

Today is Grandparents’ Day. Let us remember and appreciate these people who have loved and sacrificed much for those who come after them. They may not have money in their wallets now, but they have pictures of their grandchildren, and all the love and memories that come along with them.

* * *

By the way, for those who ask me if I have a Facebook account, my answer is no. I have been told that I have a Facebook page, but I am not the one who put it up. Just for your information.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me not to be deaf to You, and to Your people. Amen.

http://opinion.inquirer.net/36294/are-you-listening

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EFFATA! MABUKSAN KA! :Reflection for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B – September 9, 2012

Saan ba nakasalalay ang pananampalataya mo? Napakarami nating paniniwala na kung titingnan ay wala sa lugar o kung di naman ay wala sa tamang hulog. Halimbawa, isang basketball player na mag-aantanda ng krus bago i-shoot ang bola sa freethrow line at pag di pumasok magmumura, isang manang na halos pahiran na ang kanyang buong katawan ng isang panyong ipinahid sa estatwa ng Mahal na Birhen at di man lang napansin na nalipat na sa kanya ang alikabok ng estatwa, isang nanay na ipinamamanhik sa paring buhusan ng tubig ang kanyang sanggol sapagkat ibabiyahe daw papuntang probinsiya ngunit ayaw namang pabinyagan ang bata sapagkat wala pa raw panghanda! Pakinggan ang kuwentong ito: “Isang batang retarded na pipi at bingi ang umakyat sa isang mataas na puno ng niyog. Nakita siya ng maraming tao at pilit siyang pinabababa sa pangambang siya ay mahulog. Ngunit ayaw bumaba ng bata. Tumawag sila ng tulong sa mga baranggay tanod pero bale wala lang bata. Tinawag na nila ang kapitan ng baranggay ngunit nagmistulang tanga lamang ang kapitan… ayaw bumaba ng bata. Nagkataong napadaan ang parish priest ng lugar. “Father, kayo na nga ang magpababa. Baka sa inyo sumunod.” Napilitang sumunod ang pari. Lumapit sa puno. Tumingala sa itaas at iwinasiwas ang kamay na tila nagbabasbas sabay bulong ng ilang salita. Agad-agad ay bumaba ang bata. Laking gulat ng mga tao at manghang-mangha sa pari. “Ang banal talaga ni Father! Binasbasan lang ang bata napasunod na!” Tugon ng pari: “Anung binasbasan? Sinenyasan ko lang ang bata ng ganito, ikaw baba o putol puno… baba o putol puno!” hehehe. Kung minsan ay masyado taong natatali sa panlabas na ritwal ng ating pananampalataya. Para tayong mga Hudyo na manghang-mangha sa kapangyarihan ni Jesus na nagpanauli ng pandinig ng isang bingi ngunti di naman nakilala kung sino Siya. Nakita nila ang ritwal na paglura ni Jesus at paghipo sa dila ng bingi ngunit hindi naman naintindihan ang ipinahihiwatig nito. Kaya nga ang sigaw ni Jesus ay “Effata!” Ibig sabihin ay “Mabuksan!” Hindi lamang ito para sa taong bingi ngunit ito rin ay para sa mga Hudyong nakapaligid sa Kanya. Nais ni Jesus na buksan ang kanilang mga pag-iisip at makitang Siya ang katuparan ng sinasabi ng mga propeta sa Lumang Tipan katulad ng panandang ibinigay ni Propeta Isaias sa pagdating ng Mesias, “Ang mga bulag ay makakikita, at makaririnig ang mga bingi; katulad ng usa, ang pilay lulundag, aawit sa galak ang mga pipi.” Nakilala ba Siya ng mga tao bilang Mesiyas? Hindi! Ipinagkalat lamang nila ang nangyari ngunit hindi ang kanyang pagdating sa kanilang piling bilang Panginoon. Mag-ingat din tayo sa ating pagiging Kristiyano. Baka katulad rin tayo ng mga Hudyong ang pagkilala kay Jesus ay panlabas lamang at nananatili pa ring mga pipi at bingi sa pagtanggap sa Kanya bilang ating Tagapagligtas. Mas masaklap ang lagay ng taong nakakarinig ngunit bingi naman sa panawagan ni Jesus na manindigan sa katotohanan at mamuhay na banal. Kasing saklap din ang lagay ng mga taong nakapagsasalita ngunit iba ang kanilang isinasagawa sa kanilang ipinahahayag! Mamuhay tayong tapat bilang mga Krisitiyano. Buksan natin ang ating puso at isipan sa mga aral ni Jesus na makikita sa Bibliya at ipinapaliwanag naman sa atin sa mga turo ng Simbahan. Isabuhay nating ang tunay na “Effata!”

http://www.kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2012/09/effata-mabuksan-ka-reflection-for-23rd.html

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Today’s Readings:  Cycle B

Back to: Twenty Third Sunday in ordinary Time (Year B)

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