September 9, 2018 – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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“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.
— Mark 7:34-36

This weekend we want to break open this section from Mark’s Gospel and offer a challenge as a reminder (to ourselves as well) to take a look at the areas of our lives in need of healing. The areas that prevent us from unashamedly and passionately proclaiming the wondrous glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

First we place ourselves in the story and imagine Jesus’ commanding words ”Be opened!” as he heals and removes the deafness from this man’s ears and the speech impediment from his lips. Can we even begin to imagine what it was like for him to finally hear everything going on around him…perhaps an overwhelming rush of sound, a sudden increase in awareness of the life and activity happening around him? And then he and all who witnessed began proclaiming what had happened, and the man who was healed could now do this in a way he was unable to before he was healed of his impediment.

Witnessing or experiencing that level of healing would make any of us want to jump up and down and shout this amazing news, right? How could we possibly contain ourselves? But placing this story in our modern day world where it’s increasingly difficult to rise above the noise or cut through our own apathy or the religious apathy and persecution of those around us, it’s very easy to just remain quiet and to remain stuck in the areas of our lives that need healing. We may even experience great healing or a powerful movement in our hearts or our journey of faith but may never share it with anyone. Recent events in our beloved Church have also impacted many of us in a way that can cause us to feel uncertain and afraid or hesitant to share the Gospel with others.

As we pray for the healing of our Church and the strength to share Christ with others, let us take a moment to reflect on the ways that we are closed off or deaf to the promptings of the Lord. The areas of our hearts that are not open to Him. Let us pray for the courage to shed any fear of speaking Christ’s name to those around us. Let us be open to and fervent about bringing the joy of a life lived with Christ to those around us!

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