Reflection for September 2021

Community Word

Faith opens our hearts to witness to God’s love and saving grace.

Order

“Ephphatha!”… “Be opened!” (Mk 7:34)

Reflection:

Being open or “bukás loób” is needed to understand our Community Word for September – Faith opens our hearts to witness to God’s love and saving grace; that to witness to the love and grace of the Lord, our faith must grow deep in our heart. Faith is to have confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the Lord is working, even though we cannot see it. Faith allows the Lord to penetrate our hearts so that we may see His mighty works. We need to follow His instruction, “ephphatha!” (Be opened), so that His saving miracles are manifested in our lives.

During this time of the pandemic crisis, sufferings and difficulties may test our faith especially when we lose a loved one due to Covid. Sometimes, we can lose sight of the Lord as we question Him for allowing such things to happen in our family or to members of a faith community. Yet, we can look at these trials from God’s perspective; we can view them as experiences where He may strengthen our faith. Throughout this month, let us reflect on how we can witness to the loving and saving grace of God.

The theme for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is – We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we courageously proclaim His mighty deeds. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus manifests His mighty healing power and compassion by opening the ears and speech of the deaf mute by mere utterance, “Ephphatha” (cf. Mk 7:34b, 35a). Those who witnessed this miracle proclaimed the mighty deed of Jesus. To this present time, it is the same command – “be opened,” that Jesus is giving us. The Lord asks us to open our hearts so that His healing love may flow to our needy brothers and sisters, by sharing our time to minister and pray for those who are sick physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Through these charitable acts, we may confidently receive God’s promise: “God…comes with vindication, with divine recompense, he comes to save you,” (Is 35:4b).

On the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is – We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we deny ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. How are we to do this? Once again, the gospel of Mark gives us a glimpse of how Jesus, our Master and Teacher, instructs us: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,” (Mk 8: 34b). Our journey of conversion involves renouncing our self-importance while embracing God’s will. Jesus’ perfect example of sacrificial and selfless love while carrying His cross should move us to follow Him with deep faith. As we share in His sufferings, we too will rise with Him in glory and reap His promise: “…whoever loses his life for my sake will save it,” (Mk 8:35b).

We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we serve others in humility is the theme for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Humility is one of Jesus’ greatest virtues. He is the Son of God, our Lord and King. Yet, He came to earth and became human, not to be served, but to serve. His life and ministry was all about service, to set an example for His followers to emulate. Jesus told His twelve apostles, and us today, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all,” (Mk 9: 35b). Oftentimes, man equates greatness to leadership. Instead, the Lord teaches us that to be a true leader, one must be first and foremost be a servant. Serving with humility leads us to God’s promise: “God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life,” (Ps 54:6). Like Christ, being servant of all will assure us of experiencing fullness of life.

Finally, for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is – We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we are pure of heart and charitable in our ways. Sin forms a barrier that isolates God from the people He loves. Because of sin, the mind is perverted, imagination corrupted and faculties of the soul degraded. There is a great abyss between light and darkness that cannot be bridged except by accepting the salvific gift of Christ. But when a heart is pure, and the life and character of a person is transformed, he becomes a testimony to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because Christ lives in him.  A person who is renewed in mind and spirit will be granted this promise: “… because you belong to Christ …you will surely not lose his reward,” (Mk 9:41).  Be righteous and holy then, that you may inherit heaven as your reward.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You are the author of my life.  You know everything about me.  I pray that as I walk in my spiritual journey, You will always help me to be consistent in my faith so that I may not stray away from You. Grant me wisdom as You open the eyes of my heart to witness to Your great love for me.  Amen!

 
 

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