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Sunday, September 9, 2012

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23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 35:4-7
James 2:1-5
Psalm 146:6-10
Mark 7:31-37

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the crowd of disobedience

"Jesus took him off by himself away from the crowd." —Mark 7:33

Jesus excluded the crowd from witnessing the healing of a deaf and dumb man. When the crowd recognized that the man had been healed, Jesus "enjoined them strictly not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it" (Mk 7:36). Although the deaf and dumb man had been transformed, the crowd was not. It was still spiritually deaf because it would not listen to Jesus. Since it did not listen to Jesus, it was spiritually dumb in that it could not effectively communicate the gospel.

Many Christians remain in the crowd. We have closed our ears to Jesus. We are disobedient. We don't witness for Jesus when, where, and how He tells us. Even when we do speak up for Jesus, we don't say what He tells us. We "water down" the gospel to make it more and more palatable to a lukewarm, secularized "Christianity." Because our ears are not open to Jesus, we, like the crowd, are ineffective in communicating the gospel even if we open our mouths.

Jesus wants to put His holy fingers into your ears, sighing: " 'Ephphatha!' (that is, 'Be opened!')" (Mk 7:34) Invite Jesus to be the Lord of your hearing and speaking.

Prayer:  Father, I repent. Through disobedience, may I not be crowded out from Your works. Give me "ears open to obedience" (Ps 40:7).

Promise:  "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing." —Is 35:5-6

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, Healer, Savior, and Redeemer! Praise You for opening our ears to hear Your good news.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Obedience School, or our tape on Obeying God on audio AV 62-3 or video V-62.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012

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