A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 9/9/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
There’s something about our young girls, when they get about fourth grade, that all of a sudden so many things become very gross, very repugnant, to them. And many times these are things that just a year or two earlier, wouldn’t have bothered them at all. But it’s like they hit fourth grade, and suddenly everything is repulsive! Have you ever noticed this? I saw this in my own neice. Plus, they develop, what I like to call, the 4th Grade Girl “Ewww!”. I hear it in our School. I hear it in families. I hear it in the gym and on the sport’s field. The girls see a small spider on the wall, and it’s “Ewww!” Someone kills the small spider with their shoe, and it’s “Ewww!” They find a used bandaid in the middle of the hall, and it’s “Ewww!” A used Q-Tip or Kleenex is even worse! Apparently life becomes full of disgusting things, when you are in Fourth Grade. And the standard response is… “Ewww!”
I can just hear our Fourth Grade girls this weekend as we hear this Gospel about the healing the man who was deaf and mute. Did Jesus really just put His finger into the deaf man’s ear? “Ewww!” And then, did Jesus really spit on the man’s tongue? That’s right, “Ewww!” It’s a little gross, for all of us.
This is kinda a disgusting healing. The outward actions of Jesus get our attention though, as this miracle opens the deaf man’s ears to sound, and the man’s tongue is loosened. And Jesus says, “Ephphatha! Be opened!”
Be opened! Perhaps that is exactly what Jesus has to say to each of us today, as we come to Mass. Today Jesus challenges each one of us to be open to His call and His will for us. Today, we must open our ears to the power of this Gospel, rather than refusing to hear it. You know, we can be pretty deaf to God, when we want to be! And likewise, we are also being asked to open our lips to proclaiming the Gospel message, rather than be silent. We can also be very mute, when we want to be, and fail to be God’s messengers in our silence.
No, we are a lot more like this deaf and mute man from the Gospel today, than we like to admit. Today, we all need to be “opened”. What are we doing here, if we are not going to be open to God? Coming here to church, to Mass, makes very little sense if we are coming with no intention of listening to what God is telling us, or no intention of repeating what we hear God say to us. We can be deaf mutes! God needs us all to be opened!
Most likely our deafness and our being mute is not deliberate. But it can still be real! Sometimes we allow ourselves to become so busy about so many things that our well-intentioned desire to hear and act upon the Word of God gets sidetracked way too easily. Sometimes we can be self-conscious, perhaps because we are a bit timid when it comes to sharing our love of God at school, or at work, or with our neighbors. And all of us sudden we are as deaf and as mute as the man in the Gospel today. And Jesus says to us, “Be opened!”
Today, my brothers and sisters, we are being asked to clean out our ears and to strengthen our voices when it comes to living out our faith in the world. Today we are invited to review the story that we just listened to, and ask ourselves, what kind of words come out of my mouth? Do we use our voices for the spreading of God’s Good News? Today God wants to heal our ears and our voices, so that it is clear that we are open to His every call, His every word, and all of His love.
Be open. Don’t be afraid. Be open to God’s will. Open your mind and your heart and your life, and let Him show you everything that is possible. The deaf mute man’s life was changed completely, when Jesus opened up his senses. Think of what God can do with your life? But you gotta be open!
Coincidently, this weekend, we are having our annual Ministry Fair after Mass today. What perfect advice for the Ministry Fair, BE OPEN! God is calling all of us to be more involved. You are needed to build the Kingdom of God right here at St. Maria Goretti. Be Open! Ephphatha!
And don’t say “Ewww!” When God wants you to get your hands dirty!
+ God bless us and help us to be His holy people, the Church, Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!