Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (6th September 2015)

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 6th

For your Newsletter

The National Eucharistic Congress takes place this month, September 26-27th. The brochures including themes of the workshops and keynote speakers are now available. If you are interested in travelling to Knock by bus or car pooling please check the notice boards for information. As usual, places are limited, so don’t delay.

Thoughts for the Homily

Today’s first reading, written centuries before Jesus walked the earth, predicts what would happen when God would come amongst His people – the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf would be opened, and the tongues of the mute would be untied, and people would be filled with joy.

But in Jesus’ day, the sight of the wonders he worked was met by awe and wonder in so many but by resistance in others. Some – the Pharisees and law makers at that time – who claimed there was nothing wrong with their sight refused to see that God was visiting His people as He promised, but twisted what they saw and heard to suit their own agendas. Rather than being filled with joy, they were blinded by their fixation with their own plans and deaf to the possibility that the world, their society, as they would have it was not what God had in mind for His people at all.

In our day, how many are blind, deaf or mute in this way? Blind to the things they do not want to see, deaf to the things they do not want to hear and unable or indeed unwilling to speak with honesty and truth. How often we hear of people turning ‘a blind eye’, ‘a deaf ear’ to the plight of others, even giving the cold shoulder. But here we are today in the presence of the remedy: Ephphatha! Be opened blind eyes, be opened deaf ears, be loosened all who are tongue-tied. 

This word Ephphatha, the Aramaic word spoken by Jesus, meaning ‘Be opened’, was once spoken over you and I. On the day we were Baptised, tiny infants though we were, that word was spoken to us, but in hope. The prayer as the priest blessed our ears, eyes and lips was in hope that sometime soon our ears would be open the hear Christ’s word alive to us, our eyes open to see the wonder of God in our daily lives and our lips opened to thank God and speak of the signs of His presence in our lives.  At Mass today we have to ask ourselves how open we are, how open our lives are to others, in their joys and in their needs, how open we are to the presence of God in our own joys and needs. If we are not yet opened, let us pray in hope that today be the day.

Prayer of the Faithful

For all of us gathered here, that the Ephphatha prayer, prayed for us at our Baptism may come to pass: that our eyes may see clearly, our ears hear the truth willingly and our speech to God and to others come from our heart.

Lord hear us.

Contributor: Colette Furlong