23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sept. 5, 2021

23B21.    Isaiah 35:4-7a.   Jerusalem seemed to be in a hopeless situation when confronted by the armed forces of Assyria.  Through Isaiah, the prophet or spokesperson of the Lord, God reassures the frightened Hebrews that he will save them.  What seems to be so hopeless, will by the power of God be remade into what only their hope in their caring God can restore and make whole.  God draws straight with crooked lines and makes it all work to the best in the end.

Mark 7:31-37.   Jesus cured a man who had a speech impediment because he could not hear well.  Learning of what Jesus had done, the people “were exceedingly astonished and they said, ‘He has done all things well.  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’”  Everything Jesus does is done well.  We need to give him a chance to make our lives a work done well.

James 2:1-5.    James calls upon us to “show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”  As the flesh calls upon us to obey the callings of our flesh, so too does our material nature call upon us to be subservient to the riches of this world and ignore the eternal riches of the invisible, spiritual world.  “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”  This world challenges us to love it and not God.   God helps us to love him who is eternal and to allow all things of this world to be secondary.  Our bodies and this world daily try to entice us to love the ‘now’ and ignore the ‘forever’.  The Holy Spirit enables us to put  the spiritual and divine above the demands and enticements of this world and our flesh.