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Sunday, September 7, 1997

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23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 35:4-7
Psalm 146
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37

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open season

"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing." —Isaiah 35:5-6

When we were conceived, we were not able to spiritually hear or speak properly. At Baptism, we were brought to Jesus. He put His fingers into our ears, touched our tongues, and groaned " 'Ephphatha!' (that is, 'Be opened!')" (Mk 7:34) Not only were our ears and mouths opened, but we received a new nature from and in Jesus.

Some Christians wonder if Baptism actually solved their speech and hearing problems, for they don't seem to hear God or to be free in speaking about Him. Nevertheless, their Baptisms were effective. They only need to accept and apply the grace of their Baptisms.

Right now, renew your Baptism. Repent of all sins and forgive all who have hurt you so that you can truly reject Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises. Also, totally commit your life to Jesus. Make this ultimate act of faith and love. Make the most important decision of your life. Then proclaim that you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

When you renew your Baptism, you will find that you can hear God and speak boldly for Him. Ephphatha! Be opened!

Prayer:  Father, let me hear Your voice and have the Spirit rest on me (see Mt 3:16-17).

Promise:  "Did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?" —Jas 2:5

Praise:  Jesus is risen! The tomb is empty! The stone is rolled away! He has conquered sin and death. Alleluia!

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Lent and the Renewal of Our Baptismal Promises.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997