Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

This morning (evening) I want to say something that maybe is very obvious but something important that we should remember very often: the love of God is what keeps us alive, really alive.  If there was any message that Jesus wanted His apostles to hear and understand it is that we are loved, loved by Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer[1].

Usually, when we speak about the Lord’s love for us, we focus on the supreme act of love, His death on the cross, we remember that He came and took our sins upon Himself and died for us, however today’s first reading reminds us that the Messiah comes to heal all kind of infirmities and pains, all kind of suffering and disease, the fact is that God sent His Son to restore the world to its proper order, to take us to a place where there are no more tears, no more pain, and no more death. God does not want suffering of his creatures, but when suffering comes, we can be sure it makes sense and that is part of God's plan.

The Lord is aware of those parts of us that are hurting. And this is a big consolation. St. Paul tells us that we complete the suffering of Christ, and although it is a mystery, this helps us to understand the evil in the world, the suffering around us. Maybe we are physically sick or perhaps our sickness is emotional. Maybe we are fighting addictions, our low self-esteem, or fighting against our own tendencies to sin. The point is that the Lord is aware of whatever is afflicting us and he left to the aid of our weakness many things: the Sacrament of Confession, the spiritual direction, reading the of the Word of God, prayer life, etc.

In today’s gospel our Lord healed the deaf man not only as a sign of his power, but as a sign of the love that God has for humanity, for each one of us.

And of course the question comes quickly: then God does not will evil?

No. God does not will evil. Evil is the result of sin, and sin is a personal decision that we take. Sometimes we are down on ourselves. Our lives are not coming out the way we planned. We are not happy with ourselves. So, do we really have a right to be negative or sad? There are times that we cannot understand why God allows pain and suffering and stress in our life, however everything that happens in our life is under His loving providence. He cares for each of us. If this morning we are here is because God wanted it, because he has given us one more day of life, and we must be grateful.

If in our lives we receive the healing power of Jesus, we must pass. If in our lives we receive the peace of God, we must pass. We are called to be instruments of peace. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer Sunday after Sunday we say, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Well, if we want to be forgiven by God, we need to forgive others. Healing is similar. If we want to be healed by God, we need to extend His healing hands to others, and be understanding people, forgiving people, loving people.

A great way to help others is inviting the sacrament of confession. Many Catholics today do not believe in confession. And confession is important. Confession is a large door to God mercy. The confession has a great healing power. I invite you to try the mercy and love of God in the sacrament of confession. Here in the parish there are many opportunities for Confession…

Today in the gospel Jesus came and says, Ephphatha, be opened! He heals because He loves. And He heals because He wants us to be the vehicles of His healing for others, so let us pray for the grace to be instruments of His peace and His healing and His love ■

[1] Sunday 9th September 2012, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7. Praise the Lord, my soul!. Ps 145(146):7-10. James 2:1-5. Mark 7:31-37 [St Peter Claver].

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris