Gospel Reflection: Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTY- THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

SEPTEMBER 6, 2015

 Alleluia, Alleluia.

Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and

cured every disease among the people.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint Mark 7: 31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis.  And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.


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


He ordered them not to tell anyone.  But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well.  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Jesus now enters into the region of the Gentiles — into the district of the Decapolis in order to extend His ministry beyond the Jewish world, and the gentile people there were very receptive, as indicated by: He has done all things well.

The story begins with the people of the Ten Cities (Decapolis) exhibiting their deepest need – the need of all people.  They need healing!  So, the people bring to Jesus, the Divine Physician, one of their own, a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.  Saint Mark provides the dramatic details: He (Jesus) put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue.   The almighty is not a detached, distant God who is unwilling to embrace sickly humanity; Jesus Christ, God the Son touches and heals the man.  Then by way of a groaning prayer, Jesus destroys all that inhibits the man from hearing and speaking — Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!

While the literal story has Jesus attending to one person, the implications of this encounter are universal – Jesus was sent to the whole world so that all people could hear and speak.  Jesus was sent by the Father to open ears and loosen tongues of all humanity so they could hear Jesus, the Word of God and proclaim Jesus as Lord!

This Gospel story is recalled at each and every Baptism by way of the Catholic Rite of Baptism for Children.  After the child is baptized and anointed with the Oil of Chrism, the bishop, priest or deacon places his finger on the ears and lips of the child and prays:

The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak.
May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your

            mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.
Amen
.

Truly, we believe that:

Jesus is the Divine Physician, the healing will of Almighty God;

Jesus was sent so that His Word might penetrate our ears and hearts;

Jesus was placed on our lips so that we might proclaim the Gospel to all the world.

By way of a clever story telling device, Saint Mark has Jesus ordering the people not to tell others of these events until the time is right.  For us the time is right, the time is nowLet us open our ears daily to hear His Word and to Proclaim Jesus as Lord by all that we say and do!   Amen!

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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