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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Be Opened The Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time 2021

                                                                   Be Opened

The Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time 2021

September 5, 2021

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Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm 146; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37


We have hope when we stay open. We get our sight restored and we see the world differently when the closed areas of our minds and hearts learn how to see new possibilities. Isaiah shows the effects of this open heart for the pathway becomes easy and it is as if the whole universe aligns to make the road home safe and clear. A closed mind lives in fear; an open one can celebrate all that is good with the world. 


The interaction of Jesus with the deaf man with a speech impediment has interesting qualities to it. The people of the Decapolis brought the man to Jesus and begged him to make the man whole. The man was not asking to be healed, and we do not know if he even wanted to be changed, but the people around him wanted him to be complete just like them, so he could be a part of their community. For the healing to occur, Jesus took him away from them to a private place and physically touched him – putting his finger in his ears and putting his spit on his tongue. He prayed that his senses be opened for the man to experience God’s mercy.


I want to know: What did the voice of Jesus sound like? What did Jesus say to him immediately after being healed, and what were the man’s first words to Jesus. When he met up with the crowd, what was he able to tell them? How did he react to hearing his mother’s voice for the first time? This moment of healing is only the beginning because the process of being open is a lifelong commitment. Imagine the possibilities for him as two of his five senses are given back to him.


As the man knows the precious gift he was given, I suspect he used his new gift well – without swearing or speaking vulgar, by speaking words to inspire and to urge people to live meaningful lives, and by giving thanks. I’m sure he discerned what he would hear: words of truth and praise, while excluding gossip and negativity, words of kindness and mercy, rather than assertions of judgments, words of gentleness instead of words of force and imposition. In learning to use these gifts, he had to decide how to use them well as they were gifts of God and gifts from God. 


This man is an example for all Christians.  Like him, we cannot stop learning about God and the proper use of God’s gifts. We have to strive to find the ways God is enriching our lives and to learn about the traditions of the church. We always must pause our initial thoughts, allow God to have some room to move through our consciousness, and keep our ears open to hear the goodness in other people, to keep our hearts open to loving without making judgments, and our mouths open to speak words of goodwill that unite people and call the best out of everyone we meet. Ephatha. Be opened.


Scripture for Daily Mass


Monday: (Colossians 1) I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.

Tuesday: (Colossians 2) As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him.


Wednesday: (Romans 8) We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.


Thursday: (Colossians 3) Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.


Friday (1 Timothy 1) I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.


Saturday (1 Timothy 1) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. 




Monday: (Luke 6) The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.”


Tuesday: (Luke 6) Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles.


Wednesday (Matthew 1) The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.


Thursday (Luke 6) To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.


Friday (Luke 6) How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. 


Saturday (Luke 6) A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.


Saints of the Week


September 7: Stephen Pongracz (priest), Melchior Grodziecki (priest), and Mark Krizevcanin (canon) of the Society of Jesus were matyred in 1619 when they would not deny their faith in Slovakia. They were chaplains to Hungarian Catholic troops, which raised the ire of Calvinists who opposed the emperor. They were brutally murdered through a lengthy process that most Calvinists and Protestants opposed.


September 8: The Birth of Mary was originally (like all good feasts) celebrated first in the Eastern Church. The Roman church began its devotion in the fifth century. Her birth celebrates her role as the mother of Jesus. Some traditions have her born in Nazareth while others say she hails from outside of Jerusalem.


September 9: Peter Claver, S.J. (1580-1654) became a Jesuit in 1600 and was sent to the mission in Cartegena, Colombia, a center of slave trade. For forty years, Claver ministered to the newly arrived Africans by giving them food, water, and medical care. Unfortunately, he died ostracized by his Jesuit community because he insisted on continuing the unpopular act of treating the slaves humanely.


September 10: Francis Garate, S.J. (1857-1929) was a Basque who entered the Jesuits and became a doorkeeper at the Univeristy of Deusto in Bilbao. He modeled his ministry after Alphonsus Rodriguez and became known for his innate goodness, humility, and prayerfulness. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • September 5, 1758. The French Parliament issued a decree condemning Fr. Busembaum's Medulla Theologiae Moralis. 
  • September 6, 1666. The Great Fire of London broke out on this date. There is not much the Jesuits have not been blamed for, and this was no exception. It was said to be the work of Papists and Jesuits. King Charles II banished all the fathers from England. 
  • September 7, 1773. King Louis XV wrote to Clement XIV, expressing his heartfelt joy at the suppression of the Society. 
  • September 8, 1600. Fr. Matteo Ricci set out on his journey to Peking (Beijing). He experienced enormous difficulties in reaching the royal city, being stopped on his way by one of the powerful mandarins.
  • September 9, 1773. At Lisbon, Carvalho, acting in the king's name, ordered public prayers for the deliverance of the world from the "pestilence of Jesuitism." 
  • September 10, 1622. The martyrdom at Nagaski, Japan, of Charles Spinola and his companions. 

September 11, 1681. At Antwerp, the death of Fr. Geoffry Henschen (Henschenius). A man of extraordinary learning, he was Fr. Jan von Bolland's assistant in compiling the Acts of the Saints.


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