HE HAS DONE ALL THINGS WELL; HE EVEN MAKES THE DEAF HEAR AND THE MUTE SPEAK (Mark 7:37)

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)

Isa 35:4-7a; Ps 146:6c-70, 8-9a, 9bc-10ab (R.v.1b0); Jam 2:1-50; Mark 7:31-37

Last Sunday, we reflected on the need to make what we profess in faith to be represented by the kind of life we live if we claim to worship God who is love, we must be ready to love as God loves. That is the message which our liturgy of today tries to pass across to us even as it promises us that God will make all things well for us.

The Second Reading was very emphatic on that point. We must refrain from discrimination of all kinds because God himself does not discriminate. He loves everyone equally. And instead of looking down upon the weak, he helps them to stand on their feet.

Consider the healing of the deaf and mute in the Gospel and the setting of the healing as examples of that. People with such crippling disabilities were considered as sinners in the land (see John 9:2). In addition to that, this man dwells in a Gentile territory, and probably, a gentile himself. Gentiles are considered by the Jews as people who are already doomed because they do not know God. Can we not see that that is a double tragedy for this man?

The most likely that Jesus would have done, as a Jew, was to ignore the man and even avoid a body contact with him. But he instead tried to liberate the man from those things which ostracised him.

This can be seen as a response to the promise which God made to the people of Israel, who were probably in exile at the time of the prophecy. It shows that Jesus has come to liberate his people from their infirmities. He will surely not forget to liberate us from our own infirmities too. Amen.

While we anticipate that liberation, let us learn from the gradual healing of the deaf and mute. Our liberation might not be spontaneous but it must surely come if we patiently wait for it.

Note that the deafness and muteness we talk about here could also be faithlessness and unproductivity. Considering the positive response of the gentiles (cf. Mark 7:37) in contrast to the constant rejection by the Jews, this spiritual liberation should be what the evangelist Mark has in mind in the Gospel. We become unproductive when our faith is not seen in our lives. This productivity is what we need to make our world a better place, characterised by love and respect for all.

May we see the goodness of God in our lives and may he grant us the grace to listen to his word at all times, witnessing with our lives what we hear and believe, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Have a fulfilling Sunday with the Lord. Peace be with you.

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