TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

September 9, 2018

Isaiah 35:4-7

 

Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    

“Be strong, do not fear!

Here is your God.
    

He will come with vengeance,

with terrible recompense.
    

He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    

and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    

and streams in the desert;

the burning sand shall become a pool,
    

and the thirsty ground springs of water.

 

 

Psalm 146:5-9

 

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    

whose hope is in the Lord their God,

who made heaven and earth,
    

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

who executes justice for the oppressed;
    

who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    

the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the strangers;
    

he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

 

 

James 2:1-5

 

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

 

 

Mark 7:31-37

 

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” 

(NRSVCE)
 


Meditation

 

No one wants to be poor in any way. We all want our needs to be met at least and dislike to suffer want. Feeling deprived is a trial in itself because we can feel as though we are unworthy, guilty and being punished, or out of favor with God.

 

When we suffer need, we do not first think that perhaps God has allowed an imbalance because of a greater good he can bring out of it. We desire to correct the situation as soon as possible even though suffering from pain, illness, hunger, thirst, or poverty, can unite us to the poor around us, force us to seek God, and provide us with an opportunity to offer it as a sacrifice for sin. 

 

As we read in the Gospel, the Lord does not desire for us to suffer the lack of ordinary health and he has the power to perfect us. He can even increase our faith and make us richer than those who suffer. So, when we suffer and wait for our deliverance or for a blessing, we can pray and ask that we not become one of the ‘judgers of evil thoughts’, as we read in James. We pass no judgment for suffering because it is a source of spiritual gain if we can trust God.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I entrust myself to you who know all things and can bring good out of evil. I ask you to supply my needs and favor me with the richness of faith while I wait in hope. Do not allow my wants to go without the reward of spiritual gain and may my heart always remember your kindness and mercy for all who suffer. Amen

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