Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (September 9, 2018): How to have eyes that see and ears that hear

Thứ Bảy, 08-09-2018 | 20:27:42

Today’s Readings:

Isaiah 35:4-7a
Ps 146:7-10 (with 1b)
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

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.”

Reflection for Sunday: How to have eyes that see and ears that hear

The readings for this Sunday show us God’s concern for the disabled. How closely do we share in his concern for them?

We’re all disabled, one way or another. We can have eyes that see and still be blind. In fact, the scripture from James shows us just how blind we can be!

If we see only how a person dresses, for example, without seeing into their hearts to recognize their gifts and talents and unique reflection of God, we are being judgmental. If we are more impressed by a person’s wealth or title or college degrees than we are by his/her spiritual energy or insights or willingness to serve, we are being judgmental.

Only God can see all the good that’s in a person’s heart, and yet we make assumptions about others as if we’re equal to God. Only God can hear the motives and longings behind a person’s words, and yet we quickly judge what is being said as if we know exactly what is meant.

Judgmentalism shows us nothing more than how truly blind we are.

Jesus wants to say to each of us: “Ephphatha! May your eyes and ears and mind be opened to the truth!” However, so that we can receive this healing, we have to slow down and stop reacting to what’s visible and audible. We cannot trust what we see and hear. We need to take time to prayerfully pause for wisdom and discernment and new discoveries.

This is one of the reasons why Jesus gave us his Holy Spirit. When we let God’s Spirit interpret everything for us, instead of reacting, we will act the way the Lord wants us to. Instead of reacting to partial information, we will act with faith and compassion.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
In what ways do you show partiality toward some people? What types of people do you tend to automatically prefer, based on outward appearances? And whom do you tend to dislike until you get to know them better? How will you begin to change this automatic reaction by relying on the Holy Spirit?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
In what ways have you been judged unfairly? How does it feel? Are you judging those who judged you, neglecting to look deeper inside of them? Next, take turns in your group naming a false accusation that caused suffering, followed by other members describing the goodness that the accusers were too blind to see. (This last part is very important — it is Jesus providing healing!)

Today’s Prayer:

Lord Jesus: Open my senses to You so I can experience Your saving presence in my life. May this joy be an eternal praise in me, a testimony of Your love and Your faithfulness. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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