WSC Reflection for September 5, 2021

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year I)

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

Theme: We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we courageously proclaim His mighty deeds.

Promise: “God…comes with vindication, with divine recompense, he comes to save you.” (Is 35:4b)

Reflection: 

Faith opens our hearts to witness to God’s love and saving grace. Our community word for the month of September exhorts us to take God’s love to heart as the foundation of our life, as the pattern for directing and guiding our life’s faith journey, and in the observance of His commandments. This overall message is reflected in most of our readings this month, starting with the theme for the first week – We witness to God’s love and saving grace when we courageously proclaim His mighty deeds. It brings us to recognize how our faith can grow as we practice and live God’s word for us: “Honor Me by living holy lives; let My word come alive in your life.”  The theme emphasizes good witnessing, openness to Jesus’ saving grace, and courage to obey God’s word in the way we serve Him in and out of community and the greater Church.

From the gospel reading is found the order for the month: “Ephphatha…Be opened!” (Mk 7:34). St. Mark emphasizes the need to witness to one’s faith by being open and by living out our faith in concrete acts of charity. Here, the gospel warns against the danger of following worldly ways over God’s will. We need to cling to God’s word, commandments and teachings, as well as the example of Christ Himself.

We are aware that life is filled with difficulties and challenges, including serious illness, absence of peace and harmony in family relationship, financial deprivation, and other pressing concerns, most especially during this pandemic that can keep us anxious and distraught. Furthermore, our spiritual blindness and deafness are caused by our sinfulness, arrogance, pride, confusion and partiality (Ps 146) in dealing with our brothers and sisters, especially the lowly (Jas 2:1, 5).  These negative attitudes hinder us from hearing the voice of God and in being able to speak the language of love and to communicate with God and our fellowmen.

What lessons can we learn from Jesus when healed the deaf and the mute, made the blind see and the lame walk? How did He respond to the needs presented to him? First, Jesus approached the situation with compassion and solicitude, making the healing process something of a ritual, a holy exercise that His actions may be better appreciated and remembered. Secondly, based on our personal experience before our baptism in the Spirit, were we not like the deaf who did not hear or fully believe in God’s word, or who turned a deaf ear to the cry of the needy in our midst? Were we not like the mute, unable to proclaim the Good News of our salvation? Were we not like the blind who did not see the plight of our brethren who were hungry and sick? Were we not like the lame who could not walk a distance to reach out to the broken-hearted?

Definitely, our baptism opened our eyes and ears to the truth of the Gospel that Jesus indeed is the Son of God. Our hearts and minds were opened to accept and believe that Jesus is truly alive in us through His Holy Spirit. It is a promise fulfilled by Jesus for one who has accepted Him, to be separated from pagans and unbelievers, to live a new and transformed life of hope, peace and love, with much rejoicing in our Risen Christ. It is a life of victory over man’s inability to respond with love and faith in his relationship with other human beings.

How, then, do we open ourselves to the Lord in order to develop an intimate relationship with Him, that we may courageously proclaim His mighty deeds, notwithstanding the challenging conditions we face? Two lessons may be derived from the readings: openness and compassion, driven by our core values of prudence, forbearance, fortitude and humility. The following directions for the month should serve as good guides for us, for only then can our Triune God perform greater miracles through us: 1) Have a deeper understanding of the word of God and become the person He wants you to be, and 2) Actively participate in community building and mission work.

The Lord is indeed exhorting us to be open to Him, to place our complete trust in Him and to have a deep faith in His power to heal and to save. This is a gift He is willing to share with disciples who hear God’s word clearly in their hearts and are inspired to respond to the call of the needy. In so doing, we can receive this promise, not only for ourselves, but also for those whom we help: “God…comes with vindication, with divine recompense, he comes to save you,” (Is 35:4b).

Prayer:

Abba Father, we beseech you to continue to inspire us to be open and compassionate like our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that those who are in need may experience Your love, mercy and blessings through us. Amen.

Reflection Questions:

1. How profound is my relationship with the Lord?  What are the obstacles in deepening my relationship with Him?

2. What incident in my life tested my faith in the saving power of God?  How did I respond?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:

September 5, 2021 (Sun) Is 35:4-7a/ Ps 146:7,8-9,9-10/ Jas 2:1-5/ Mk 7:31-37

September 6, 2021 (Mon) Col 1:24-2:3/ Ps 62:6-7,9/ Lk 6:6-11

September 7, 2021 (Tue) Col 2:6-16/ Ps 145:1b-2, 8-9, 10-11/ Lk 6:12-19

September 8, 2021 (Wed) Mi 5:1-4a/ Ps 13:6ab, 6c/ Mt 1:1-16, 18-23

September 9, 2021 (Thurs) Col 3:12-17/ Ps 150:1-2, 3-4, 5-6/ Lk 6:27- 38

September 10, 2021 (Fri) 1 Tim 1:1-2, 12-14/ Ps 16:1b-2a, 5, 7-8, 11/ Lk 6:39-42

September 11, 2021 (Sat) 1 Tim 1:15-17/ Ps 113:1b-2, 3-4, 5, 6-7/ Lk 6:43-49

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ.  Read your Bible daily!”

 
 

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