23rd Sunday In Ordinary Time - Sunday, September 5, 2021

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Father Joseph d...

August 30, 2021

Sometimes a mother will look at her new born child and she or he nurses and say: “I wish this moment would last forever that you would never change.”  However, the truth is if the mother were 89 years old still nursing the same infant for 65 years – she might feel quite different.  For some reason we all feel that if things could just stay the same things would be alright.  However, nothing could be different from the Christian central mystery.  Nothing in life is meant to stay the same.  Metanoia, transformation and conversion is the name of the game!  Those who cling to the past or the present are not choosing life! All of our readings today speak to us about change and transformation. 

Our first reading (Isaiah 35:4-7) speaks to us about God’s desire to change our fearful hearts: “Be strong, do not fear!” and to make the eyes of the blind see.  God desires to make: “Those who are lame shall leap like a deer!”  God desires that:  “waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert, the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.”  God desires to and is able to change our hearts.  Climate change bears witness to the fact that the weather we have known in a particular place is not necessarily the weather we will know in the present or future.  All is transforming and changing!

Psalm 146 proclaims that God will execute justice for the oppressed and give food to the hungry.  “The Lord will set the prisoners free. The Lord will open the eyes of the blind and lift up those who are bowed down… The Lord will upholds the orphans and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.”  This is not a passive God but a God of reversals.  A God who is not content with the evil in the world but a God who is actively working to bring about peace, justice and harmony!

The letter to James (2:1-5) challenges acts of favouritism that we all make.  In fact, it questions whether or not we believe in Jesus Christ if we make acts of favouritism.  How do we treat the rich when they come to Church either for liturgy or with a request and how do we treat the poor when they come in the same way?  The reading calls us to conversion of mind and heart with regards to those who lack the basic necessity of life.  “Has not the God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?”

Finally in the Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) we hear of the story of man who was deaf and had an impediment of speech being brought to Jesus in the region of the Decapolis, near the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.  “Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephahatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’”  Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.  Again, transformation of our present reality into a deeper reality that images the Reign of God is Jesus’ deepest desire!  At baptism we all experience the “Ephahatha” rite where the priest or deacon touched our ears and eyes.  So the question is: Are we truly open to the transforming power of God’s love that wants to form and transform us!  Shape and reshape us! Fashion and refashion us!  Life is not about staying the same but about the Paschal Mystery – the continuous process of transformation!