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God is ever-present in lives of his people

Based on Is 35:4-7a; Jas 2:1-5; Mk 7:31-37

This Sunday’s readings tell us of God’s ever-present activity in the lives of his people.

Throughout Scripture, God commands the poor – all those in need – be given loving care. In this Sunday’s Gospel, people come to Jesus with a deaf man, who also has a speech impediment, and ask for Jesus’ help.

Feeling sorry for the man, Jesus takes him aside to a quiet spot. He touches the man’s ears and tongue. The deaf man then sees Jesus look up to the sky. Jesus is using body talk (visible gestures and signs) for the man who otherwise wouldn’t know what Jesus is communicating. 

The man sees Jesus’ lips move. Jesus says, “Ephphatha” – that is, “Be opened!” Immediately, the man can hear and speak clearly! How different his life will be. The people are amazed and astonished at what Jesus did.

In baptism, the church welcomes us as members of the Catholic faith community. The priest asks the questions, and our parents and godparents answer for us. He asks them what they believe as Catholics. They promise to help us grow as Jesus’ followers. We are given a new life of grace, the help of the Holy Spirit.

During baptism, the priest prays a special blessing, the “Ephphatha,” (pronounced EF-fah-thah) or prayer over the ears and the mouth. The priest says, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his words, and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen”

We hear Jesus speak to us at Mass in the Scriptures and the homily.

We respond with prayers, songs and by going out and doing what Jesus asks of us – loving God and neighbor, especially those in need. 

Pope Francis continually shows us how to identify with the poor and calls us to show love and mercy to all people in need. One example: The Holy Father has been inviting those who live in the streets surrounding the Vatican to share the food at his table.

Lord Jesus, help us to open our hearts and minds generously to your teachings so that we live as your disciples and proclaim the Good News.