Readings and Reflection for Sunday September 5, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time


FIRST READING                                                                                      
“Then the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 35:4 -7a)

Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 146:6c-7.8-9a.9bc-10ab (R. 1b)
R/. Come, Lord, and save us.
Or: Alleluia.

It is the LORD who preserves fidelity forever,
Who does justice to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
The LORD who sets prisoners free. R.

It is the LORD who opens the eyes of the blind,
The LORD who raises up those who are bowed down.
It is the LORD who loves the just,
The LORD who protects the stranger. R.

The Lord upholds the orphan and the widow,
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever,
the God of Sion from age to age. R.

“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be heirs of the kingdom?”
A reading from the Letter of Saint James (James 2: 1-5)

My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA Matthew 4:23
Alleluia. Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. 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.

Today’s Reflection

The man brought to Jesus was deaf and also had an impediment in his speech. It was only when his ears were opened by Jesus that he began to speak clearly. This is a reminder to us that our ability to speak depends on our capacity to hear. Hearing comes before speaking. This is also true in our dealings with others. Our capacity to hear someone is more important than what we speak to him or do for him. One of the ways we mediate God’s creative power to others is by listening attentively to them. That act of listening can be powerfully life-giving in its own right. When people are listened to in a non-judgmental way, they can begin to come alive in new ways. In the light of today’s readings, we might pray this Sunday for the grace to discern the ways in which the Lord is calling us to be channels of his creative power in our world today.


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