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Sunday, September 6, 2009

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23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 35:4-7
James 2:1-5
Psalm 146:6-10
Mark 7:31-37

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fruit of the lips (see heb 13:15)

Jesus "put His fingers into the man's ears and, spitting, touched his tongue." —Mark 7:33

Jesus' gestures of inserting his fingers into a deaf-mute man's ears and touching the man's tongue seem foreign to our modern, antiseptic culture. Yet if you're baptized, you experienced the touch of Jesus in a similar way. At baptism, the priest or deacon touched your ears and lips, praying that God would open your ears to hear His word and your lips to proclaim it.

Before Jesus touched the deaf-mute, "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" (Mk 7:34-35). Jesus is still the same today (Heb 13:8). He's still groaning and praying that our ears and mouths would be open to the Word of God.

Years of listening to loud music results in a gradual loss of hearing. Likewise, years of listening to the noise and voices of the world causes our spiritual hearing to decay. Repent of any spiritual deafness or muteness. Allow Jesus to take you off by yourself with Him, away from the hubbub of the world that crowds around you (Mk 7:33). Let Him touch you anew and renew your baptismal innocence. "Be opened!" (Mk 7:34)

Prayer:  Jesus, whenever I cross myself as I hear the Gospel proclaimed at Mass, touch my forehead, lips, and heart as You touched the deaf-mute. Open my lips to speak Your word.

Promise:  "Did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?" —Jas 2:5

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who, upon calling us by name, allows us to recognize His risen glory.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009

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