6th September – 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Today’s gospel is as follows:

GOSPEL                             Mark 7:31-37
He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.

Jesus and bartimeusReturning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said, ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

The commentary from Bishop David McGough in the Catholic Herald is as follows http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/september-4th-2015/walk-with-each-other-as-god-walks-with-us/http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/september-4th-2015/walk-with-each-other-as-god-walks-with-us/

“Say to all faint hearts, ‘Courage! Do not be afraid. Look, your God is coming.” Throughout the ages sinful humanity has struggled to discern the signs of God’s presence.

Without God we sink into a confusion that longs for healing, for assurance and direction. When we look into ourselves we shall discover that, beneath a confident exterior, we share the same insecurity that was addressed long ago by the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. We long for the assurance that God is with us, that his presence is our courage.

The assurance given by the prophet Isaiah was repeated over and over again. In the presence of the promised Messiah the eyes of the blind would be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. The lame would leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb would sing for joy.

The beauty of this promised salvation cannot be confined to the purely physical. The consequences of sin are felt most keenly in what cannot be seen, in the inner self that drives our every thought and action. We are blind when the inner eye cannot see that we are loved by God and enabled by him to love in return. We are blind when we can find no hope for ourselves or our world. We are crippled when we cannot walk in God’s ways and delight in his commands. We are dumb when we know nothing of a joy that longs to sing his praise. This understanding
illuminates the healings worked by Jesus throughout his ministry. In today’s Gospel Jesus laid his hands on a man both deaf and dumb. The words he spoke were simple: “‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened’. And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.”

The reaction of those who witnessed this healing was immediate, an acknowledgment that in Jesus, God was healing a broken world. Instinctively faith discerned that Jesus was opening the eyes and ears of mind and heart, and that in him crippled hopes would again dance with joy.

These repeated healings call for prayerful reflection on our part. Do we truly see as God sees, listen to each other as God listens to us, walk with each other as God walks with us?