From the Pastor's Desk
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Today’s readings offer two challenges: 1) Become humble instruments of healing in Jesus’ hands by giving voice to the voiceless and caring love to the needy and the marginalized in our society.
2) Open your ears to hear the word of God, open your eyes to see God’s presence in everyone, and loosen your tongue to praise and worship God loudly and to convey the Good News of God’s love and salvation to others. (Anecdote of the “little monk” who opened blind eyes & deaf ears).
In the first reading (Is 35:4-7), the prophet Isiah reminds us that God's eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. “He comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”
Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 146) sings of a God who gives sight to the blind, raises up those who are bowed down and welcomes strangers.
That is why, in today’s second reading (Jas 2:1-5), the apostle gives us some basic and challenging principles of social justice. He exhorts Christians to show no partiality based on external appearance and to practice God’s “preferential option” for the poor. He warns the faithful against scorning or shaming the poor while showing special consideration to the rich.
Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus, by healing a deaf man with speech impediment, fulfilled Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, "The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped." The ailments listed by Isaiah are symbolic of our interior illnesses: blindness to the needs of our neighbor, unwillingness to hear God’s voice and the inability to speak words of praise, apology, forgiveness, and gratitude. Through this miracle story, Mark also reminds us that no one can be a follower of the Lord without reaching out to the helpless (“preferential option for the poor”)
1) We need to allow Jesus to heal our spiritual deafness, muteness, andblindness. We may find it hard to speak to God in prayer and harder still to hear Him speaking to us through the Bible and through the Church. Let us ask God’s help to open our ears so that we may hear Him while reading the Bible, and praise and worship Him loudly in our family prayer and in our public worship by actively participating in the Holy Mass, singing with the choir and praying with the congregation. Jesus’ compassionate touch will help us to hear the cries of the poor and the sick, and to show kindness, mercy and consideration to others. His healing touch will also help us convey peace and hope to those around us.
2) We need to help Jesus to heal the deaf and the mute today. Let us lend Jesus our hands to give the touch that heals the sick. Let us lend Jesus our tongues to speak to the spiritually hungry through us. Let us lend Jesus our hearts to touch the lives of people in our day through us, just as Jesus touched the lives of millions through saintly souls like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugan, and St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)