Reflection on the Daily Readings for 9/06/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 129, 23 Sunday (B). Isaiah 35:4-7. Psalm
146:7.8-9.9-10. James 2:1-5. Mark 7:31-37.
Scripture is always calling us to wholesomeness and integration. God
wants us to reach our highest potential as humans both in the ordinary
levels of life and especially in the spiritual area of life. To help us
see how God works this through with many different types of people who need
a lot of help, we learn there are certain “catch words” that refer to these
people. Of course, we are among them when we reflect on how God helps them
to reach their maximum potential. We help one another in this endeavor
because the commandment of love is at the center of human potential. Jesus
has the power to bring this potential to those who are marginal in society,
to those who are alone (widows, orphans), to the poor, the blind, the
addicted (with new kinds of demons), and to the deaf and lame.
Isaiah shows us that in Messianic times (the the time of Jesus) even nature
will respond to this potentiality. The blind have their eyes opened, the
deaf their ears cleared, and the lame are able to leap for joy. Our being
stewards of creation help to bring this about.
We hear the same message in the Psalm and its responsorial, in the letter
of James,and in the Gospel in a specific instance of a man who is deaf is
cured by the healing touch of Jesus. We help the poor according to James
when we do not favor just those who seem to be our rich friends, but when
we see the indigent in need to be clothed and fed. James is advising us to
clear ourselves of our prejudices, anger toward others who do not think
like we do–even politically, and by reaching out to those who need help.
Jesus himself gives us the example of healing a man who was deaf and not
bragging about what he has done (part of the humility of Jesus and a hint
of the Messianic Secret in Mark). We are called to be creative agents of
God’s redeeming love for the poor and for those who need us to help them
reach their potential in the physical world and in the spiritual realm.
Widows, orphans, the blind, the deaf, and the lame have always been helped
by institutions that are motivated by Christian values and principles
learned from the Gospels. The catch words used in the Bible for such people
who need us and our need of them enable us to reach our potential while
helping them to reach theirs in the sight of God. We ourselves may be
spiritually blind or deaf to the word of God. We may be alienated from the
community or consider ourselves outside the Church. Yet, God is concerned
for all of us to reach our potential. That is why God created us in his
image and likeness.
In listening to the Scriptures today we have some areas that touch our
needs for reaching our potential as other Christs. May God bless us with
such a desire and the effort to do something about it. Amen.