“Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David.”
A reading from the first Book of Kings (1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19)
At that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had clad himself with a new garment; and the two of them were alone in the open country. Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel).”’ So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 81:10-11ab. 12-13.14-15 (R. see 11a.9a)
R/. I am the Lord, your God: listen to my voice.
“Let there be no strange god among you,
nor shall you worship a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” R/.
“But my people did not heed my voice,
and Israel would not obey me.
So I left them in their stubbornness of heart,
to follow their own designs.” R.
“O that my people would heed me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
At once I would subdue their foes,
turn my hand against their enemies.” R.
ALLELUIA Open our hearts, O Lord, that we may give heed to the words of your Son. Alleluia.
“He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 7:31-37)
At that time: Jesus 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 begged 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 mute speak.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The awesomeness of Jesus’ ministry continues to attract attention. He extends his hand of fellowship and help to people outside Jewish territory. He was in Tyre and Sidon where he delivered the syrophoenician woman’s daughter of her demonic possession. Now, he goes to the Decapolis, meaning ‘ten cities’ where he met a deaf and mute man. The people asked Jesus to ‘lay his hand upon him’, that is the traditional way of invoking the power of God. Jesus, nonetheless, took the man aside, “put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle, then, looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, ‘Be opened’. The dumb man’s ears were opened and his tongue was loosened and he began to speak clearly. Joyously, the people spread the news, even when Jesus forbade them. The fact is that it is difficult to withhold good news. And the lesson is that we cannot stereotype God. His ways are not our ways.