This Sunday’s Readings:
Psalm 146:7, 8–9, 9–10 (℟ 1b or Alleluia)
“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.
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.
Ephphatha! Be opened!
Today’s Gospel tells us the story of Jesus opening the ears and mouth of a deaf man with a speech impediment. Jesus gave the man his hearing and sight back as a sign of the power of God. This is who your God is. Your God can give hearing to the deaf. Your God can restore the sight of the blind. Your God can make the cripple walk. But, there is one condition: Be open to God in your hearts and in your lives. Be open to those who walk among us in the image and likeness of God. The poor, the homeless, the marginalized. Be open. Be a conduit for God’s love in the world and you too will work miracles in the name of Jesus.
More choral suggestions for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Alabado Sea el Señor / Praise the Lord: Salmo 29(28) Lorenzo Florián Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, trumpet, violins 012559
Alaben Todos / Let All the Earth: Salmo 148 Pedro Rubalcava SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, opt. C instrument 012678
Amazing Grace Arr. Noel Goemanne SATB, descant, soprano solo, opt assembly, organ 008855
Amazing Grace Arr. Darnell Crawford TTBB G-7377
El Amor de Dios / God’s Love Is Everlasting Lourdes Montgomery Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 012649
Ephphatha Ken Macek SATB, descant, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008291
Ephphetha Marty Haugen (SA(T)B, assembly, keyboard, guitar, 2 C instruments G-2787
I Know the Lord’s Laid His Hands on Me Arr. Richard Kent SATB a cappella 001080
I Sing the Mighty Power of God/Your Hands O Lord, in Days of Old Arr. Peter Niedmann SB, organ G-5119
If You Want to See a Miracle Patrick D Bradley Arr. Thomas W Jefferson SATB, solo, keyboard, guitar 001237
O God, Whose Healing Power Luke Mayernik SATB, solo G-7193
Open My Eyes Benedetto Marcello Arr. Dale Grotenhuis Two-part choir, keyboard 008761
Open Wide the Doors / Abre Bien las Puertas John Angotti & Larry Dorsch SATB, solos, assembly, keyboard 008103