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SEPTEMBER 5. Ord Time B. Wk 23. Sun. Mk. 7. 31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’


This cure of a man who was both deaf and blind is not recorded in any other of the gospels and it is unique in a number of ways. Firstly, those who brought him to Jesus did not ask that he be cured; - but rather that he ”lay his hand on him”. This showed the faith of the man himself and those who brought him to Jesus; - as all they asked for was a blessing.


So often we go to Jesus with specific requests, and it is rare souls with particular sufferings or trials will go to him and simply ask for his blessing; - while not revealing the issues concerning them. The beauty of doing this is it shows the person is prepared to accept the form of blessing Christ decides; - and it may be other than the one sought!


This approach is dear to Jesus as it reveals great faith; - putting the will of God ahead of one’s own will; - something Jesus himself did prior to his own passion and death. A willingness to embrace suffering, in all its forms, is a sign of holiness; - and progress in the spiritual life.


Another difference with this miracle was Jesus “took him aside in private; -away from the crowd” which was rare as he usually performed miracles in front of others, as a means of demonstrating he was the Son of God and encouraging them to have faith. Because this person had borne witness to his trust in God, by only asking for a blessing, Jesus performed a private miracle as reward for his faith and trust in God’s love.


A further unusual move by Jesus was the way he “put his fingers in the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle,” actions that were unnecessary, as there was no crowd, and after doing this he simply said “be opened”. These were signs for the man himself that revealed the nature of the “blessing” he was to receive.


And then there is the request from Jesus “ordering them to tell no one about it”. This is another example of how sometimes God wants the recipients of his miracles and graces to keep them private, and not spread the fact they have received divine blessings. To do this is a sign of faith; - keeping God’s blessings private and revealing them to no one.


In this case they did not pay heed to Christ’s request but their motivation for doing this was the felt such a gift should not go unknown and in publicising his actions they felt, correctly, that they were giving public recognition to his actions and promoting his teachings and encouraging more disciples to follow him.


This is a significant truth! So often Christians grow in the spiritual life, and become close to Jesus, but give no return to God by “spreading his message” or “interceding for others” by way of testimony or prayer. God wants our prayer and spiritual life to have benefits for others!


Gospel Acclamation Matthew 4:23


Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom

and healed all who were sick.

Alleluia!


Second reading James 2:1-5 ·

God chose the poor according to the world to be rich in faith


My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats’; then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?


Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.


"God chose those who are poor according to the world!" (Poverty of Spirit)



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