HOMILY FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
SUNDAY HOMILY THEME: DO NOT BE AFRAID YOUR GOD WILL COME AND SAVE YOU
BY: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike CM
Our God is a saving God. At the root of his interest in us, is his concern for our welfare and redemption (Jer 29; 11) .
In Isaiah 35, we notice that God’s coming is intimately tied to the return of the people of Israel from exile, which actually is part of the salvation God promised his people. Our theme today goes beyond that and leads us to the coming of Jesus Christ; who is the fullness of salvation, and who will lead us out of our present exile which our sins has taking us to, into reconciliation with God in a life of grace.
Isaiah 35, 4-7 emphasizes the radical nature of Gods work among humanity. When the Lord appears, strange and marvellous things happen. The wilderness becomes a flourishing path with streams of water flowing abundantly. The blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame not only walk but leap for joy. As the exiles return home. The visit of God to his people always comes with the transformation of their plights into a favourable condition, and brings great rejoicing in the land.
The reason for the coming of Jesus as he described in John 10, 10 “that you and i may have life and have it in abundance”, confirms that he is the fullness of man’s salvation as prophesied in the ancient past.
In today’s Gospel we see how a deaf man who also had an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus and trusting that with his presence their friend and brother would be healed, they begged Jesus to lay hands on him and Jesus did.
And with the power of his touch and speech, “the ears of the deaf man was opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly” (Mk 7, 35).
Today we discover that with the presence of Jesus amongst his people, the prophecy of Isaiah 35 is truly fulfilled. This is clearly seen in the healing power which Jesus manifested in the Gospel, which brought great rejoicing in the hearts of the people and rekindled their hope in God (Mk 7, 37).
As the prophet Isaiah urges us today, there is no need to be afraid, for surely our God comes to save us. No matter the challenges before us now, no matter how hard we may have tried in the past on our own to fix our problems and they seem not working out, we need to trust in the Lord again and again. We need to have the same faith exhibited today in the Gospel by those who brought the deaf and dumb man to Jesus (Mk 7,32). They took him to Jesus and begged Jesus to lay hands on him for they trusted that there is power in his hands.
As we wait on the Lord for his healing touch, may our lives be transformed for the better. May we also exhibit our trust for Jesus by doing away with the spirit of favouritism and looking down on people as St James admonishes us today. And may we be counted amongst the poor of the Lord whom He has chosen for riches in faith and in his kingdom (James 2, 4-5).
Happy Sunday And have a blessed week.
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.