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Sunday, September 10, 2000

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23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

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

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"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened." —Isaiah 35:5

Jesus, Who is the same now as He was yesterday (Heb 13:8), is praying for us the one-word prayer, " 'Ephphatha!' (that is, 'Be opened!') " (Mk 7:34) To answer that prayer, Jesus had to groan in suffering and eventually in His Passion and death on Calvary. In so doing, Jesus opened the way to God the Father, the door to heaven, and our hearts to repentance and conversion (see Mt 27:51ff). Jesus continues to pray "Ephphatha" so that all will be open to accept the grace of salvation (1 Tm 2:4) and His death on the cross will not be in vain (see 1 Cor 1:17).

Jesus prays "Ephphatha" especially in this year 2000, the long-awaited year of the Great Jubilee. The Lord calls His disciples to be so open to freedom from debt and slavery that the socioeconomic system of the world will be transformed. Jesus prays that we will be so open to His justice that our land and wealth will be redistributed and we will have solidarity with rather than separation from the poor of the third and fourth worlds.

Jesus has groaned and is praying "Ephphatha!" On this two-thousandth anniversary of His Incarnation, be opened in a radical way to the fullness of His will.

Prayer:  Father, this year may my amazement go beyond all bounds (Mk 7:37).

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:  Praise the risen Jesus, "our Wisdom and also our Justice, our Sanctification, and our Redemption" (1 Cor 1:30).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000