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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
1st Reading (Isa 35:4-7): Thus says the Lord: 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 will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
Responsorial Psalm: 145
R/. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. The Lord loves the just; the Lord protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow the Lord sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The Lord shall reign forever; your God, o Zion, through all generations.
2nd Reading (Jas 2:1-5): My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, «Sit here, please», while you say to the poor one, «Stand there», or «Sit at my feet», have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 4:23): Alleluia. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 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 people begged him to lay his hand on him»

Fr. Fernando MIGUENS Dedyn (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Today, the liturgy takes us to contemplate the healing of a “deaf man who had a speech impediment” (Mk 7:32). As in other cases (the Bethsaida and Jerusalem blind men, etc.), the Lord surrounds the miracle with a series of outward motions. In such miracles, the Fathers of the Church see the overemphasized harmonic involvement of the Humanity of Christ. An involvement developed in a double way: one, the “abasement” and the closeness to us of the Verb incarnated (the touch of his fingers, the depth of his gaze, his sweet and intimate voice); on the other hand, the attempt to awaken in the man the confidence, the faith and the conversion of his heart.

The cures of the sick Jesus carries through mean indeed much more than merely relieving the pain or recovering the health. They are meant to achieve that those He loves overcome their blindness, their deafness or their stagnant immobility of the spirit. And, ultimately, a true communion of faith and love.

At the same time, we can see how the grateful reaction of the recipients of this divine gift is to proclaim God's mercy: “the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it” (Mk 7:36). They bear witness of the divine gift, they deeply experience his mercy and are full of a deep and genuine gratitude.

For all of us it is also of crucial importance to know and feel that we are loved by God, the certitude we are the object of his infinite mercy. This is the driving force of generosity and love God is requesting from us. Many are the ways that will carry us to make this discovery. Sometimes, it will be the intense and sudden experience of the miracle and, quite often too, the gradual discovery that all our life is nothing but a miracle of love. In any case, it is necessary we first realize our own indigence, with a true humility and the capacity to listen reflexively to God's voice.