Being Open

In today’s gospel we encounter Jesus outside the Galilee in the area of Decapolis, an area of Hellenistic thought and faith practice. Jesus meets someone, “a deaf man who had a speech impediment

he looked up to heaven…and said…’Ephphatha! (that is, ‘Be opened!’) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” (Mark 7:34-35)

In terms of the mission of Jesus and the later mission of the Apostles and disciples, it is touchstone and summary: be willing to leave the comfort of your neighborhood, persistent when encountering people not initially open to hearing the Word of God, look to heaven in prayer for ways to remove the barriers, and empower the listener to speak plainly the Word of God to others. Continue reading

A final thought on the Sermon

This coming Sunday is the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The posts this week have been longer than average. So perhaps is it time for final thought. The following quotes come from Walter Pilgrim (Good News to the Poor: Wealth and Poverty in Luke-Acts).

The clear social distinctions drawn here are between the haves and the have-nots, the possessors and the impoverished, those favored by society and those despised. The new and surprising element is the way in which the norms and values of society are turned upside down. The promised blessings belong to the suffering poor, while the coming woes are pronounced upon the contented rich. According to one commentator, this marks the first time in Jewish religious literature that the poor are directly called the blessed (Hengel Property). [p. 76] Continue reading