23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week we being by moving from Deuteronomy to the prophet Isaiah. We hear that the Messiah is coming and when this happens the eyes of the blind will be opened, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap, the tongues of the dumb will sing, streams will burst out in the desert and rivers will flow from the steppe. The mountains will be made low and the hill turn to dust. When this was written it was in light of the end of the Babylonian captivity, and the Jewish people was their release as coming from the Lord. Since they were set free anything is now possible, the bind will see, the deaf hear, anything is possible because of the Lord.

In the second reading we continue hearing from the letter of James and he sort of touches on the topic but take it from a different angle saying that it doesn’t matter what you wear to worship be it the finest of linens and a gold ring on each finger or a pauper wearing rags. This is a vastly different way of looking at the world where we are often told that the rich get richer but it is the poor who were chosen by the Lord to be rich in faith.

Turning to the Gospel we hear Mark’s account of the deaf-mute man being healed. Jesus spits and says “Be opened” and the man’s ears are opened and he can talk normally. Both the first reading and the gospel are clear signs for us all to turn to the Lord for all kinds of help. I find it interesting that all the great Bible stories are about miraculous transformations (lepers made clean, the blind can see) but the whole thing is that these were the outcasts and they were being welcomed by Jesus. This is what we the living church needs to continue to do today, be welcoming to all people no matter who they are, sure that means that there will be some homosexuals, perhaps a transgendered individual, a cohabitating couple, some individuals who even have had premarital sex, unwed mothers and even some people who have been divorced sitting next to you in the pews but just as Christ welcomed all people and saw them as a part of society we need to do the same.  Perhaps some of this will be dealt with in the synod coming up in October.

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