This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s Gospel, Jesus cures a deaf man who has a speech impediment. Please note that Jesus is ministering in a district that is primarily pagan, that would be “deaf to the Gospel.” Scripture says Jesus: “put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” Two obstacles to discipleship are the inability to listen and the inability to speak. Being unable to listen means that a person is unable to assimilate Christ’s message about the saving power of God and the Gospel of life we experience through the Paschal Mystery. By curing the man in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives him the opportunity to embrace the message regarding salvation and to spread the Good News (even though Jesus orders the people not to tell anyone). Grace makes it possible for us to hear, understand, and testify to the Good News in word and action. Sometimes we ourselves are deaf to the Word of God and mute in speaking his message. As we reflect upon the Gospel this week, let us ask ourselves in what areas we need to be healed of our deafness and speech when it comes to fully embracing the Gospel of Christ.
This past year, the diocese has been providing formation sessions for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest. Formation began with deacons and Pastoral Administrators as Leaders of Prayer, then with individuals designated by pastors and pastoral administrators for their parishes, and finally with musicians. We are really experiencing the shortage of priests in our diocese. Next week, I will write more about SCAP (Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest).
Since summer vacation is over and parish life is getting little busier, I want to remind you of some upcoming events. They are: Catechetical Sunday and Kick-off Breakfast for Faith Formation families (after 9:30 Mass next Sunday), Annual Mission Appeal with Sister Donna Gunn, CSJ next Sunday, Finance Council Meeting (September 12), and One-hour Formation Sessions on Thursday, September 27 and Saturday, September 29 for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who seek a three-year recertification of their ministry. This month’s Holy Hour with the bishop will take place on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:00 PM at Saint John XXIII Parish (Saint Mary Church – Hemlock).
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ