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Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time B

September 5, 2021

Mark 8:27-30

By Rev. John Tran

All the readings and even the responsorial psalm emphasize the lot of the poor, powerless, sick and crippled people. The gospel is the culmination of this concern when Jesus cures the deaf man.

The thing that strikes me the most is the way Jesus treated the deaf man.

Deaf people can be sensitive because people are always talking loud in a very dramatic way so that they can be understood. They make a big production when talking to a deaf person and call a lot of attention to the deaf person. It makes for a big show. The ordinary person, the merchant or housewife, might easily ignore the deaf person as too difficult to bother with, or use them in a self serving way. We well know the reaction of the Pharisee who would by pass the person as unclean or make a public show of aiding him or her. But, look at Jesus:

1. He takes the deaf man aside from the crowd, all by himself. This is a very tender consideration, so that the man cannot be embarrassed. Jesus shows the most tender consideration for the feelings of a man for whom life is very difficult.

2. Throughout the whole miracle Jesus does not use words. He puts his hands on the man’s ears and touches his tongue with spittle. Spittle was thought to have a power to cure. Then Jesus simply looks up to heaven to show that God was the source of the help and healing. Only then did Jesus speak a word and the man was healed.

The whole story shows us that very vividly that Jesus did not consider the man only a case, but considered him as an individual. The man had special needs and problems, so Jesus with tender consideration dealt with him in a way that spared his feelings and in a way that he could understand.

The ordinary person deals with a deaf person by ignoring him or her, or using that person to an advantage; this is so unlike Jesus’ way. How different is Jesus approach from the way of the Pharisee would calls attention to the good he is doing. Which are we like? the Pharisee or Jesus?

Cardinal Sin, as told in the homily of Bishop Bacani, tells the story of a blind vendor selling some candies and other items on a sidewalk during the Christmas season. As people were rushing, her “bilao” (bamboo tray) was bumped. She tried to grope for her wares. Nobody seemed to mind her as they hurried past her. Then a man stopped and then stooped to pick up her things and returned them to her in her bilao. She asked the kind gentleman, “Are you Christ?” — Yes, this good gentleman, for this blind woman, was Christ. There are many opportunities given to us by which we are faced with people who need help, but how often do we respond? Let us be more vigilant for those opportunities and allow Christ to reach out, through us, to others in need by the love we show.

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