THE PROMISE OF THE GOSPEL IS THAT GOD LONGS TO RESTORE US
(A biblical reflection on the 23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 5 September 2021)
Gospel Reading: Mark 7:31-37
First Reading: Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalms: Psalm 146:7-10; Second Reading: James 2:1-5
The Scripture Text
Then He returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to Him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought Him to lay His hand upon Him. And taking him aside from the multitude privately, He put His fingers into his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And He charged them to tell no one; but the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well; He even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”(Mark 7:31-37 RSV)
We all know that God created us in His image and likeness – perfect in health and in the ability to know and love Him. But when we fell into sin, we became subject to sickness and death. We lost the fullness of the life that God intended for us. Who among us doesn’t feel the imperfections of our hearts, or of life in this world?
The promise of the Gospel is that God longs to restore us. St. Irenaeus once said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” God wants His glory to be visible in men and women who are restored to Him, fully alive in His Spirit.
The Gospel story of Jesus’ healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment demonstrates how deeply He cares, even for our physical ailments. Yet there is something more to this story. Jesus’ healing of the man’s physical ailments was a sign of the spiritual healing He wants to give each of us. If Jesus wants deaf ears to hear, how much more does He want deafened hearts to hear His voice!
Don’t be content with a partial hearing of God’s voice! Don’t settle for only a partial release from sin. Jesus came to give us life to the full, not just enough to get by: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 RSV). This might seem too big a promise to grasp entirely, but it is God’s promise, and He is fully capable of doing what He promises (Romans 4:20-21).
Today, let us ask the Lord to open our ears to hear Him. We ask Him to open our eyes to see Him; to clear our speech of all impediments to declaring His goodness. We ask Him to restore us – spirit, mind, and body – to the life He has always intended for each and every one of us. He wants to do it. He has promised that whoever asks with faith will receive (Mark 11:24). He will do what He wants and what He promises!
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You do all things well. Thank You for restoring my relationship with God the Father and for pouring out Your Holy Spirit. Fill me today with Your Holy Spirit, so that I might experience life to the full in Your presence. Amen.HisHis
Jakarta, 4 September 2021
A Christian Pilgrim