23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf mute. This miracle shows his desire to open our ears to hear God’s message and our lips to proclaim the Good News: Salvation is ours. God loves us. And we are called to love all others.

  • To the point: “Be opened!” Jesus commands the deaf-mute man as he heals him. This encounter, however, is more than a matter of physical healing. It is a sign of salvation: God’s superabundant life breaking open the closed human condition. What Jesus commands to the deaf-mute man, he commands to us. When we encounter Jesus, he commands, “Be opened!” and we too are healed: our ears are opened to hear the Good News and our tongues are loosened to proclaim it.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) to the first reading: Isaiah’s poetic vision presents a world redeemed by God’s saving power. What Isaiah communicates through poetry, Jesus communicates through action.
  • Connecting the Gospel to our experience: We tend to think of salvation in terms of heaven and the hereafter. The readings open us to salvation as encountering and hearing God now.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Mark 7: 31-37)

He said to him, “Ephphatha!” — that is, “Be opened!” — and immediately
the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment
was removed, and he spoke plainly.

Jesus, open our ears so that we can hear you
in the pleading of the poor,
the cry of the environment,
the war-torn, the immigrant, the hungry.
Open our ears so we can hear you
in the crash of waves,
the sound of children laughing,
the call of a friend, in music by Puccini.
We want to know you well wherever you are
and in all things. Open our deaf ears
and loosen our tongues.
Let us hear and speak your love to all the world.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 35:4-7a)

Here is your God; he comes to save you.

Jesus, you transform our thirsty ground
into pools of living water.
You open our eyes and choke back our fears.
You make melody to burst from our mouths!
streams to flow from our wasteland,
and rivers from barren plains.
We long to drink of real water.

The Second Reading

(James 2: 1-15)

Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith?

Sometimes. shabby is happy.
And fine clothes and fine roof bring woe!
Jesus, we beg you, take us into your poverty.
Make us rich in love.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection