Saturday, September 5, 2009

TWENTY-THIRD Sunday: "Be opened!"

Isaiah 35, 4-7; Psalm 146; James 2, 1-5; St. Mark 7, 31-37

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech...And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears , and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly." (St. Mark 7. 32-35.)

The Gospels are filled with the evidence of the sacramental system initiated by Christ. As incarnate God he uses physical reality, the gifts of God's creation, as signs to bear the grace of supernatural life. All of creation is wrapped up in the proclamation of redemption.

In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. (Cf. St. Luke 8. 10.) He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. (Cf. St. John 9:6; St. Mark 7:33 ff.; 8:22 ff.) He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, (Cf. St. Luke 9:31; 22:7-20.) for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (CCC 1151)

In the Baptismal ritual the priest continues this ordering of creation as a sign of salvation when he repeats the blessing "Ephphatha! Be opened!" over the ears and mouth of the newly baptized child. May the Lord open our ears to truly hear the Gospel and our mouths to proclaim our faith to the glory of God the Father.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

(See also paragraphs 1151 and 1504 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

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