Gospel Reflection for Sunday September 5th : 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time By Br Michael Moore OMI
Jesus wants to heal us
The first reading today from the Prophet Isaiah proclaims with great energy; ‘Say to those who are afraid, “Be strong, do not be afraid! Here is your God… he is coming to save you.” Then the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy.’ Mark’s gospel describes the living fulfillment of Isaiah’s message when Jesus touches the deaf man so that he hears and speaks; it becomes real through the voice and actions of Jesus.
The man who is deaf and dumb is brought to Jesus and he is healed. Jesus asks the people not to tell anyone about this, but they would not remain silent; ‘he has done all things well,’ they said, ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’ This man is an outsider at all levels; he is a Gentile and so is seen by Jews as being unclean and he is also physically sick. If a person was sick in any way, they were seen by the Jewish leaders as sinners who were being punished by God. As always, Jesus welcomes without prejudice or judgement those who come to him for help. He crossed all religious and social boundaries and reached out those who were most in need. He touched them as they sought to touch him. Following the message from the second reading, Jesus did not make distinctions between people; he embraced, included and welcomed all people.
Those who in the gospel were excluded in any way; the sick, the poor, the outsider, had the courage to come to Jesus as they were; they hid nothing from Jesus. Jesus welcomed and accepted them as he found them; he loved them as they were. When Jesus healed people, he returned them to full health at all levels that allowed them to fully share in the life of the community.
Perhaps because what we have said and done in the past, we feel that Jesus will reject us. There is no need for us to feel afraid or reluctant in coming to Jesus. He embraced all those who came to him for forgiveness and to be healed; he rejected no one. He will welcome, accept and embrace us with the same love, compassion and concern. He will restore, renew and refresh us – if we have the courage, faith and humility to come to him and ask for his healing touch.
Jesus comes to us and offers to heal us of whatever is causing us pain. In all the accounts of Jesus healing people, they touch him and he in turn touches them. He touched those who were blind, deaf, dumb, crippled and those who had leprosy. Today, Jesus wants to touch us where we hurt the most. When he reaches out to touch us, he asks, ‘do you believe that I can heal you?’ This is a very personal and direct question from Jesus. As I hear Jesus asking me this question today, what is my honest response?
What part of my own life needs the healing touch and embrace of Jesus today? Can I come to him today just as I am, confident that he will welcome, embrace and heal me?
‘Let us hold on to the faith we have… let us have confidence, then and approach God. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it. (Hebrews 4.14.)
-Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel Sunday September 5th|
|Mark 7:31-37 ©|
‘He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak’
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