Sunday Reflection - 23rd Sunday - Year B

Sunday Reflection - 23rd Sunday - Year B

Posted: Tue, 31 Aug 2021 08:56

Sunday Reflection - 23rd Sunday - Year B

Our Gospel today is very vivid and shows the power of incarnation—an incarnation that is not magical or some fantasy experience. Jesus meets a man who is deaf and unable to speak; aware of the need for privacy and not making his miracle some sort of tabloid sensation, 'Jesus took him off alone, away from the crowd' (Mk 7:33). With Jesus we see a profound respect for the dignity of the individual; we also see the earthy reality of this particular miracle: Jesus 'put his fingers in the man's ears, spat, and touched the man's tongue' (Mk 7:33).

His call is simply 'Ephphatha' Mk 7:34): Jesus wants the man to enjoy the FULLNESS of life; he wants him to 'be open' and receptive to all that God offers. Anything that keeps us from the love of God is central to the mission of Jesus. On seeing what has happened the man and the crowd want to spread the 'good news' of healing: for this particular man, he is now able to hear God's Word, and to proclaim and spread that Word too. A simple encounter with Jesus does that for everyone: you want to share what has been shared with us—God's bounty and goodness is not something we selfishly cling to.

Today we are presented with the need we all have for communication; these last eighteen months have made us realise how much we have depended on all forms of communication. When we could not visit family or friends, then the internet became so crucial. Modern social media, rightly condemned when it bullies and belittles, suddenly became front and centre in our efforts to keep in touch. It was a literal lifeline for millions, as they learned to navigate the perils of the pandemic. Through the internet, our homes were linked to work, school, entertainment and Church; we became all too aware of the social inequality that exists in the global community. Even in our own rich and developed nation, we realised that there was so many suffering from the poor connectivity and that not everyone in our land had access to a computer that would allow them to work and learn from home. Suddenly we realised that internet was more than just a Netflix or Sky Sports subscription; it was our ONLY way to effectively communicate. Jesus wanted to communicate with this man who had so much closed to him—he was seen as different and on the edge. Jesus broke through that and offered him a new and exciting way forward. We are all called to a share in this personal communication with the Lord. We are all worthy of the love that God has for us, as a community, and as individuals. Jesus comes to each—like the man at the centre of today's miracle, Jesus treats each one of us privately and with total respect. Pope Francis recognises the uniqueness of our relationship with God; enjoy and, even, rediscover your personal friendship with the Lord:

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since "no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord". The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 3)

Author: Fr Gerry O'Shaughnessy SDB

Image: © Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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