Fr. Ron Serban - 9/09/2018

Isaiah 35:4-7closeIsaiah 35:4-7 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 35:4-7closeIsaiah 35:4-7 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. (ESV)
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. (ESV)
; Psalms 146:6-7, 8-10closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'; James 2:1-5closeJames 2:1-5 The Sin of Partiality 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (ESV) closeJames 2:1-5closeJames 2:1-5 The Sin of Partiality 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (ESV) The Sin of Partiality 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (ESV) ; Mark 7:31-37closeMark 7:31-37 Jesus Heals a Deaf Man 31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (ESV) closeMark 7:31-37closeMark 7:31-37 Jesus Heals a Deaf Man 31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (ESV) Jesus Heals a Deaf Man 31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (ESV)

This Tuesday will mark the seventeenth anniversary of the September 11th (“9-11”) terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, New York City. Most of us can recall exactly where we were when we first heard of the attacks. But the details fade.
While the starkness of that day and memories of the weeks that followed have grown dimmer, the insecurity that was created that day continues to haunt our lives. Over these past seventeen years, fear has spawned more horrible wars, and the world is still suffering the evils of terrorism.
In contrast, this Sunday’s readings are filled with hope for our future. Isaiah assured the captive Israelites that, if they repent, their land and their people will again prosper and they will rejoice at the lavish blessings that will come to them.
The relationship between the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, and the Gospel, from Saint Mark, is very clear. Our God is a God who does miracles from time to time in order to manifest His divinity. Probably what bothers us is that God does not make miracles all
of the time. This question points us to the heart of the mystery that we live: creation and redemption.
God wants us all as fully alive as possible, living for Him and for one another. But – we live in a world that is broken. This is a world in which children die, a world with wars, a world with hatred and deception, lies, cover-ups and abuse. This is a world where both good and bad thoughts struggle for our attention. This is a world in which it is not easy to choose for the good in every situation. We are tempted to choose for the values of the world: for money, for power and for pleasure.
Yet it is still a world which God loves. God chooses to love each one of us, honoring our freedom while at the same time inviting us to love Him in return. There are many signs of God’s love: beauty, truth, incredible acts of kindness, art and music, the parish community, and the like.
Because God does not interfere with our freedom, we continue to live with the brokenness of the world and its sinfulness, as has been all too painfully brought to our attention this past month. It is this same brokenness that is spoken about in the Letter of Saint James. This letter speaks about common human experiences such as pride and envy. We Catholics are not any better than anyone else. But, on the other hand, we can have God’s grace and help when we ask for it.
The Word of God today might be inviting us to see God’s presence when we see miracles, great and small; to see God’s presence when people do good; to see God present in all good and to see God inviting us to live a different way when we experience evil and brokenness.

Blessed be God!
Father Ron

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