Here is this week’s homily. God bless all!
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
September 4/5, 2020
Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37
Jesus is the fulfillment of all our hopes. Jesus is the one whom Isaiah identified as our God who comes with vindication, who opens the eyes of the blind, clears the ears of the deaf, and makes the dumb speak. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would make water run on parched land.
In the Gospel passage today, it is clear that Jesus is the long-awaited one. He is the Messiah for whom the Jews longed. Jesus is the fulfillment all the prophecies for he healed the man of his blindness, and cured him of his deafness, when streams of water ran down from Calvary the day he died, for we know water flow like a stream upon the dry ground that day.
The Jewish people knew Isaiah’s prophecies and they saw them being fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Ephphatha! (Mark 7:34) Jesus exclaimed. Be opened! Be strong, fear not! (Is 35:4) Be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5) St. James exhorted. Jesus Christ is among us. Do not fear! He is everything for which we could possibly hope. He is more powerful, more faithful, more merciful, than anyone before him or after him. He is more than any other man or woman who may claim to fulfill you; more than any modern day author, actor, or actress, more than any political figure, or any popular celebrity. Jesus is the fulfillment of our lives and he restores all of creation in this goodness.
Proclaim Jesus! Tell the world that He is alive!
Are we convinced of these things? Are we convinced that Jesus is the one we all desperately want and need? Is Jesus the fulfillment of your lives? Do you love Him?
The early Church Fathers scoured the Old Testament and there they found Jesus proclaimed.They searched their own lives and found him there also.
What about us? Do we find him when we look for answers, or do we look to science or to philosophers or to Buddhism, paganism, or perhaps the most popular author on the New York Times best seller list?
Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the fullness of all that we also will become. Jesus is the God for whom we have been searching and hoping.
I cannot say it better than did Pope St. Paul VI in 1970. I quote him:
Convinced of Christ: yes, I feel the need to proclaim him, I cannot keep silent. «Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!» (1 Cor. 9:16). I am sent by him, by Christ himself, to do this. I am an apostle, I am a witness. The more distant the goal, the more difficult my mission the more pressing is the love that urges me to it (cf. 2 Cor. 5:13). I must bear witness to his name: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). He reveals the invisible God, he is the firstborn of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the Teacher of mankind, and its Redeemer. He was born, he died and he rose again for us. He is the center of history and of the world; he is the one who knows us and who loves us; he is the companion and the friend of our lives. He is the man of sorrows and of hope. It is he who will come and who one day will be our judge and, we hope, the everlasting fullness of our existence, our happiness. I could never finish speaking about him: he is the light and the truth; indeed, he is «the way, the truth and the life» (John 14:6). He is the bread and the spring of living water to satisfy our hunger and our thirst. He is our shepherd, our guide, our model, our comfort, our brother. Like us, and more than us, he has been little, poor, humiliated; he has been a worker; he has known misfortune and been patient. For our sake he spoke, worked miracles and founded a new kingdom where the poor are happy, where peace is the principle for living together, where the pure of heart and those who mourn are raised up and comforted, where those who hunger and thirst after justice have their fill, where sinners can be forgiven, where all are brothers.
Jesus Christ: you have heard of him spoken; you are Christians. So, to you Christians I repeat his name, to everyone I proclaim him: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega; he is the king of the new world; he is the secret of history; he is the key to our destiny. He is the mediator, the bridge, between heaven and earth. He is more perfectly than anyone else the Son of Man, because he is the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary, blessed among all women, his mother according to the flesh, and our mother through the sharing in the Spirit of his Mystical Body.
Jesus Christ is our constant preaching; it is his name that we proclaim to the ends of the earth (cf. Rom. 10:18) and throughout all ages. (Rom. 9:5)