September 5: Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm: 146; 2. James 2:1-5;Gospel: Mark 7:31-37.
The thoughts expressed by today’s biblical authors help us visualise the power of God at work in our world. With this kind of focus, we quickly discern the precious nature of the faith we share.
The voice of Isaiah in the first reading orients us to an understanding of the prophet’s role in announcing God’s special presence among his people. The imagery he uses captures a vivid sense of what God, in all his goodness, has prepared for those who put their trust in him. The bleak outlook that had dogged Israel is, therefore, due to disappear before their very eyes.
All sorts of afflicted people (and the places they inhabit) are set for a radical transformation, which will be a visible sign that God is the saviour of the world.
In James today, there is also a visual perspective. Addressing his Christian brothers and sisters, he reminds them that, in their treatment of one another, they should be wary of a certain bias. And that is why James contrasts conflicting attitudes towards the rich and the poor.
In short, since all are children of God’s kingdom, it is everyone’s responsibility to honour all its members with equal respect and esteem.
The description of Jesus’ hands-on ministry in the Gospel text from Mark is also visually-oriented. The cure of the deaf man is told with incredible detail. Jesus’ physical encounter with the man, through touch and spit, is graphic. Yet his command to the man is simple, short and instantly effective. This is a true sign of Jesus’ power and saving presence in the midst of the
These readings sit well together. They draw us in and greatly encourage us as we each fulfil our mission of promoting the Good News of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.