September 5, 2021 — Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time
“Thus says the Lord: say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!”
Our readings today offer us a message of hope — God is with us and wants to heal us. May this message come ablaze in our hearts so that we might live with unwavering faith.
Our first reading and Gospel present us with profound physical healings.
In our first reading, the prophet Isaiah is speaking to a weary people who have returned to their homeland after a period of exile. Isaiah proclaims a confident message from the Lord, “Here is your God…he comes to save you…Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared.”
Likewise, our Gospel recounts the healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment. People brought him to Jesus and begged for his healing. Jesus took the man off by himself, touched his ears and his tongue, then proclaimed, “Be opened!” Immediately he was healed.
The prophecy in our first reading and the story in our Gospel overwhelm us with comfort and peace because we have a compassionate God who sees our physical needs. Yet if we reflect further on these readings, we see that God uses these moments of physical healing as opportunities to restore something much deeper — our souls.
Oftentimes we are blind and deaf to God in our lives. We miss countless opportunities to see God working in our day-to-day moments — through our loved ones, our community, or even a stranger. We miss the quiet voice of Jesus in our hearts telling us to choose Him instead of sin, respond in love instead of anger, or care for someone else in a moment instead of ourselves.
These are how we need to be spiritually healed. And the scriptures remind us that God is with us and wants to heal us.
He offers us the sacrament of confession because He recognizes the need our souls have for healing. He is eager for us to come begging for His mercy because He wants us to be with Him in eternal life.
But that is not all Jesus wants us to do. He also wants us to seek Him daily as the blind man did. If we approach Jesus each day — during our drive to work, stopping by the church for a few moments of prayer, or even finding a quiet spot in our homes — then He will take us into a moment of complete separation from the rest of the world. In that daily moment, He will work on our hearts, heal our wounds, open our ears and our eyes so that we can better know Him, love Him, and serve Him. This is done through prayer — the intimate time between Jesus and you.
This is echoed again in our second reading, as St. James reminds us to be rich in faith. This is what truly matters in life — not the status of our lives, but the state of our souls. God has promised Himself to those who love Him. And to be rich in faith and to love God well, we must commit to that daily time with just Him. He will heal us and transform us to be rich in what truly matters.
This week let us seek God to heal our souls and transform our hearts. Let us pray that our eyes and our ears might “be open” to His workings, words, and promptings in our lives.