23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 35:4-7; James 2: 1-5; Mark 7: 31-37
At the beginning of this story in Mark, the disciples and Jesus make a journey of well over 100 miles into Gentile territory. This could have taken weeks. Jesus’ journey shows the availability of God’s reign to those outside of Israel. It also emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ words and actions. It illustrates the fortune of the disciples to hear and see the full reality of what Jesus is accomplishing and the meaning of Jesus’ coming.
Mark tells us that when Jesus healed the deaf and mute man, the people of that time took it as a sign that the Messiah had come. This miracle fulfilled the words of Isaiah in the first reading of today: “Be strong. Fear not! Here is your God: he comes to save you.” Thus Jesus showed his authority over all creation and all evil. The cure of the deaf man (found only in Mark’s Gospel) is in direct contrast to the disciples who have ears to hear and yet, even at this time on their journey with Jesus, failed to understand the meaning of this proclamation of Jesus. This calls us to question ourselves: Have we also failed to understand Jesus’ teaching in our lives today?
This passage also emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ words and actions. It illustrates the fortune of the disciples to hear and see the full reality of what Jesus is accomplishing and the meaning of Jesus’ coming. Let us discover today what Jesus’ coming has meant for each of us, living in 2018. Sometimes we get bogged down in the problems of the day and times. Sometimes we forget that Jesus has made a difference in our lives (just as in the deaf man’s life) but perhaps not so dramatically. When we confront a difficult situation or person, let us remember that Jesus is here with and within us. What is this calling us to do and to be? Let us repent of our unbeliefs. Let us open our hearts and lives to God once again with expectations of great and divine things.
And so we pray: Jesus, help me to recall and recount the wonders you have accomplished in my life. Unstop my ears so that your words will resound in my memory. Your reign is truly at hand. I long for the day when your work in me is complete.
Sister Barbara Werner, O.P.