TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Words For Reflection!

Do we listen? Are our ears open? Do we speak the word of the Lord? These are the questions that can be seen in the readings today. We are invited to have our ears opened and to learn to speak God’s own words.
The first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. He tells the fainthearted—those who are uneasy about the word of God, whose hearts live in fear— “Be strong! Fear not!” Most of us who have faith are at least a bit shy about proclaiming that faith, especially when the world is so against faith right now. Yet the Prophet Isaiah would tell us to have no fear, just proclaim God and God’s works. Everything will change if we begin to proclaim the Word of God! Our mute lips will speak, our tongues can speak aloud God’s glory. We will be able to see the glory of the Lord. The eyes of the blind will be opened. All of these great works are a sign that God is present.

The second reading comes from the Letter of James. “God chose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him.” Again, we have this testimony that God will work if we just walk with Him. God does not choose the powerful and those who have the means to pay their way. Instead God chooses the weak, the poor, those without capacity—and through them God proclaims the Kingdom of His love. We often doubt this reality but once we begin to see everything through faith, we begin to recognize that power counts for nothing unless it is the power of love. Our level in the society of this life counts for nothing. What counts is a heart set on God and on doing God’s will.

The Gospel is from Saint Mark today and is about Jesus curing the man who had a speech impediment and who could not hear. This echoes clearly the passage from the Prophet Isaiah. And, of  course, once Jesus heals this man, everyone wants to talk about it. It is no longer a sign from God but is about extraordinary things happening. We humans often prefer the circus to the hard realities of life. What about us? Do we help others speak? Do we help others hear? Do we direct others to God? The early followers of Jesus recognized that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecies. Do we recognize that? Jesus does not go about saying: “I am God, listen to me.” Rather, Jesus goes about doing the works that proclaim that He is God. Let us listen to Him and also open the
mouths of others and help them see.

Reflections by Abbot Phillip Christ in the Desert Monastery