23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2018

23B18.   Isaiah 35:4-7a.  A foreign army had come to conquer Jerusalem, but God stands with his people to give them courage and strength.  “Here is your God.”  “He comes to save you.”  The saving action of God that is in the Gospel reading is predicted when Isaiah writes, “The ears of the deaf (will) be cleared:” “then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

Mark 7:31-37.  The people see the power of God made manifest when Jesus cures the deaf man and enables him to speak clearly.  The People proclaim the magnificence of the work of Jesus, saying, “He has done all things well.  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”  Jesus, though he appears to be only human, through his miracles manifests his divinity.  The God, who in the Old Testament was present at a distance, in the New Testament times, is walking among his people showing his care for them by his powerful works.

James 2:1-5.  People are more naturally attracted to the haves’ rather than to the have nots’.  I guess because we would rather be one those who have nice things than to be one of those who do not have nice things. In Mark 10:23b, Jesus said, “How hard it is those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” In the mentality of this world we can easily think that once we have nice earthly things we have all we need.  The nice things of this world are worthless when we die.  James rhetorically states, “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?”  Sometimes the poor, who are not so disturbed by their relative lack of the nice things of this world, can put their trust more in the things that that only God can offer.  They are not so preoccupied by the wealth they already have so that they trust in the God who in Himself is the treasure this world can never offer.