Homily 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year B - Listen, Hear, Act

Homily (Sermon) - Listen, Hear, Act.

The Readings for Sunday 9th September 2012  or the twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B:
Isaiah 35:4-7
Psalm 145:6-10
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

This homily and readings are available as a Podcast at the iTunes store.
Or you can listen to it now by clicking here.

Why are we being told this story?

On face value it's a story of healing, showing us Christ's ability to perform miracles, demonstrating His Divine nature. However if we look a little deeper at the scripture we have heard today there is plenty it can teach us.

I want to start with prophesy. Isaiah had been told by God about the Christ, about how God would save His chosen people. Isaiah was told about things that the Christ would do, things that would enable people to recognise Him when he came. Isaiah prophesied about the healing of the deaf and dumb man we hear about today. However, the interesting and challenging thing to understand about prophesy, is that you can never be sure what has been prophesied has finished happening. It's far to simple to assume that because Isaiah said Jesus would unseal the ears of the deaf and make the dumb sing, that this is the end of the prophesy.

I think that todays prophesy is still in action, started by Christ and continued by his Church. It won't be finished until he comes again. Its our job to make sure we find ways to continue the work Jesus started when he healed the deaf and dumb man. And before we do that we really have to understand the lessons Mark is teaching us today, and depending on where you currently are in your faith journey with Christ the lesson may be different.

So let's start with the first lesson, the lesson for us as students of Christ. We have to learn to listen to Him. We have to have our ears unsealed.

How often do you listen to Christ's words? Probably at least once a week at Mass. More often I expect, as scripture is found in many places. Maybe you read your bible, or listen to scripture and reflections on the radio or television. Scripture is easy for us to listen too, but how easy is it to hear, to understand, to take it into our hearts, to let it guide us, to let it give us life? The simple answer is its not easy, we have to want to hear the message of Christ. We have to have our own deafness cured. We have to ask Christ to help us hear Him, we have to listen prayerfully before we can really hear, before we can understand, before we are ready to help Christ with His work, before we can take our place doing His work as part of His Church.

The man we hear about in today's Gospel could be me, could be you, in fact it should be. We have to let Christ stick his fingers in our ears. To allow Him to open us to His word, His gift of life. That's our first lesson from today's Gospel.

Christ calls us to continue his work, to work as His Church for Him, to help build heaven here on earth. Our second lesson today, is as followers of Christ, it's about how we go about doing His work. Jesus gives us a wonderful demonstration of this today. Think about the way he approached the man in today's gospel. Most of the time when Jesus cured people, He spoke to them, gave them an instruction or told them their sins had been forgiven. This time he used actions, why? Maybe because the man was deaf, Christ used a sign language to speak to him. He found a way to communicate with the man, before healing him.

That's our second lesson, find a way to communicate with people. Thats also the continuation of the prophesy, our tongues are being healed so we can proclaim Christ to a deaf world. But, how can we tell the world, or even just one friend, the wonders we know about Christ, if we can't communicate with them. Our ears have been unsealed, we know from our own experience Christ can and will unseal their ears, the challenge we are given as Christians is how do we start the conversation for Christ, He will finish it if we can just start it.

Starting the conversation is difficult, Jesus started it today in sign, and finished it in words. He started it in a language the man understood and finished it, once the mans ears were opened, in the language Jesus needed to use. You might need to learn a new language. You might need to learn about sport, or soap opera, or music. You might need to learn to enjoy country walks or computer games. Remember that Jesus started the conversation in the language the man understood, you need to do the same.

Today, tomorrow, until Christ returns, Isaiah's prophesy will continue. At some points you will need your ears unblocked and at others you will be asked to start the conversation so other can have their ears unblocked.

Where are you today in your journey. Are you struggling to hear, do you need to let Christ unblock your ears. Or have you heard Him and are now being called to communicate His message to others. Either way, today's gospel should be speaking to you, are you ready to listen, to hear, and to act?

Last weeks Homily 22nd Sunday - Homily Index

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