Messy but Life-Changing

Messy but Life-Changing

23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

“Be opened,” Jesus says to the man who was deaf and mute. But be opened to what?

First, be opened to fullness of life. The man’s inability to hear or speak cut him off from the community, which often saw disease and defects as justification for ostracizing a person. Even if he had not been excluded, the man could not easily connect with those around him. Jesus’s physical healing opened the door to the man’s full participation in community life.

The neophytes baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit herald us again to reclaim this mission in Christ. Share on X

Second, there is another closure Jesus commands be opened. In this section of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has been encountering and healing gentiles—outsiders to the Jewish community. In these examples of connection with the other and restoration back into the community, Jesus invites all of us to be opened to personal relationship with those we have excluded out of fear, social pressure, or because we think them unworthy of God’s blessings.

Be opened to relationships that go beyond impersonal charity (writing a check) or abstract goodwill (praying for others). Enter into the messy but mutually life-changing, intimate act of accompaniment and personal encounter. Be opened to a surprising God who chooses those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith (second reading). Be opened to an abundant God who clears a path for what was once shut out.


This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Ricardo Viana on Unsplash.

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