Sunday Readings and Reflections

Sunday, September 5 
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Lawrence Justinian, St. Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Book of Isaiah 35,4-7a.

Thus says the Lord: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. 
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; 
Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. 
The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water. 

Psalms 146(145),7.8-9a.9bc-10.

The LORD keeps faith forever, 
secures justice for the oppressed, 
gives food to the hungry. 
the LORD sets captives free. 

The LORD gives sight to the blind. 
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; 
the LORD loves the just. 
The LORD protects strangers. 

The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains, 
but the way of the wicked he thwarts. 
The LORD shall reign forever; 
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia. 

Letter of James 2,1-5.

My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. 
For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, 
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” 
have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? 
Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 7,31-37.

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. 
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. 
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He 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. 
He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. 
They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and (the) mute speak.” 

Saint Ephrem (c.306-373) 
deacon in Syria, Doctor of the Church 
Sermon “On our Lord”, 10-11

“He put his fingers into the man’s ears and (…) touched his tongue”

Divine strength came down, which we humans cannot touch; it covered itself with a palpable body so that the poor might touch it and, in touching Christ’s humanity, might perceive his divinity. The deaf-mute sensed that his ears and his tongue were being touched with fingers of flesh. Through those palpable fingers he perceived the intangible divinity when the bonds of his tongue were broken and the closed doors of his ears opened. For the body’s architect and artisan came to him, and with a gentle word, without pain, he created openings in deaf ears. Then, too, the mouth that had been closed and until then incapable of giving birth to a word, brought forth into the world the praise of him who thus caused its sterility to bear fruit.

In the same way, the Lord made paste with his saliva and spread it over the eyes of the man born blind (Jn 9:6) so we might understand that, like the deaf-mute, he was lacking something. An inborn imperfection in our human dough was removed thanks to the leaven that comes from his perfect body (…). To complete what was missing in these human bodies of ours he gave something of himself, just as he gives himself to be eaten [in the Eucharist]. By this means he causes our deficiencies to disappear and raises the dead so that we might recognize that, thanks to his body in which “the fullness of deity resides” (Col 2:9), the deficiencies in our humanity are brought to completion and true life is given to mortals by this body in which true life resides.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

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