"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
Sept. 9: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
• Isaiah 35:4-7
The second reading speaks about a healing of a different sort: the healing of injustice. In the Church, James says, there shouldn’t be any distinction between rich and poor. Everyone is equal before God regardless of their economic or social status. Respect for the poor has always been a central part of Catholic social teaching.
If the first reading speaks of hope and the second reading of charity, the Gospel speaks of faith. The healing of the deaf-mute in the Gospel is unique to Mark. The location of the story within the larger narrative is significant. It is part of a litany of healings and other miracles that point to the divinity of Jesus, which as yet is not clear to the disciples. All the healings and teachings, including this one, are leading up to the climactic moment when the disciples finally understand who Jesus really is and profess their faith as Peter, speaking for the Twelve, declares (in the next chapter): “You are the Christ!”
Key verse: “The man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:35).
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Contemplative prayer is hearing the word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child” (No. 2835).
Pope Benedict XVI: “Let us never forget that ‘when the sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel.’ The homily is part of the liturgical action and is meant to foster a deeper understanding of the word of God so that it can bear fruit in the lives of the faithful” (No. 45, 46).
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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