Posted by

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD September 5, 2021/23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The theme of this 23rd Sunday gospel relates about Jesus’ compassion on a deaf-mute man (Mark 7,31). However, in this time when the health workers are treated unjustly, deprived of their wages and benefits, Jesus would surely sympathize with these poor victims. His principal virtue as Son of God is mercy and compassion and any act of injustice and exploitation are an abomination before his eyes.

* * *

This is shown in the episode when Jesus saw those vendors and money changers at the temple areas blatantly exploiting the poor people. Many of them had traveled from afar. The men were carrying their sacrificial lambs on their shoulders; the women carrying their sacrificial doves in little cages.

When they got to the temple, they were told by the religious authorities that their offerings were not acceptable. Animals for sacrifice would have to be purchased from them, but the prices were exorbitant. Does this sound like the OVERPRICED purchases of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

* * *

Making a kind of whip of cords, “he drove sheep and oxen alike out of the temple area, and overturned the money changers’ tables, spilling their coins.” “Get them out of here,” he ordered. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a den of thieves” (Jn 2.16).

The Lord’s anger was a tool of compassion which he used to defend the poor and oppressed.

Indeed, like the Lord, we should be angry at the Department of Health and support our health workers who have long been a victim of injustice.

* * *

In today’s gospel, Jesus’ compassion is seen more as a gentle act. He took the man away from the crowd, which shows his sensitivity to the situation of the embarrassed handicapped man, and healed him.

“Deaf-mutes” are not only the people handicapped in speech and hearing as in the gospel story, but also the social deaf-mutes–those who have no voice or influence in society, those to whom no one listens to, as the case of the health workers.

* * *

While we are thankful to the Lord for our healthy speech and hearing, we should not abuse them. We do this if we use our speech faculty by lying, by calumny or spreading “fake news” which is very notorious nowadays for the purpose of destroying the good name of others.

* * *

There’s a story of a priest who gave penance to a known gossiper in town when she came for confession. He told her to bring a bag full of feathers up a tall building and throw them in the air. “After doing that,” the priest said, “go down and collect all the feathers. “But Father, that’s impossible to do,” the lady protested. “They’ve been scattered by the wind to far-flung places already.” “That’s right,” the priest replied. “That’s what you do every time you talk bad or slander your fellowmen.”

An ugly rumor or a destructive gossip that’s carelessly passed on, can never be recalled. And the harm has been done.

* * *

Another lesson of this Sunday gospel is that we can be SPIRITUALLY deaf. That is, when we do not want to admit our mistakes and wrongdoings. This is shown, for instance, when perpetrators of a crime refuse to admit it or try to cover it up.

* * *

Let’s ask ourselves: Are we grateful to God for our healthy faculties of speech and hearing and show it by helping the handicapped and victims of injustice and exploitation?

Let’s emulate Jesus’ compassion and ask forgiveness for our failure in helping our handicapped brethren.

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. The airplane was having a rough time. The “No Smoking” and the “Fasten your seatbelt” signs were on. Everyone kept quiet or prayed, except one man, who was seated by the side of a woman who was saying the rosary.

“My friend,” said the woman, “Don’t you know that we may crash and die? Can’t you do something religious or Godly this once in your life?” Immediately, the man stood up and passed his hat for collections.

* * *

Doctor: “Son, why did you slap the guy you were talking with?” The angry man replied: “Imagine, he saw me very nervous while waiting for the result of my swab test, and he still said: THINK POSITIVE!”

Leave a Reply