Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Chriostai Notes for the 23rd Sunday of Kingdom Time

First Reading — Isaiah 35:4-7

4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

1. Will healing abound, and will God also transform all nature? What lines in the reading indicate this? It is an ancient promise, but of a new age. Is this age the coming of Christ? How can you prepare?

2. Isaiah writes about the hope of deliverance from exile. Do you need to be liberated from suffering sometimes? Does this message of hope speak to you?

3. How do you respond to Isaiah’s prophesy?

Second Reading — James 2:1-5

1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

1. Do you give the same respect to people who have money and prestige as you do those who do not? “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith?”

2. The disabled receive the blessings in the First Reading and the poor are chosen heirs in the Second. How do these readings make you feel about the poverty in your life?

3. Define partiality.

4. What is your conviction regarding partiality when you are the one getting the special treatment?

Gospel Reading — Mark 7:31-37

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. 33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; 34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

1. In the Gospel the people relate Jesus’ curing the deaf man to the prophet’s promise in the First Reading, (then will the ears of the deaf be cleared … tongue of the mute will sing … ) What does this miracle of the deaf man say to you about when the reign of God started?

2. How do Pope Francis' two tweets below relate to this Gospel? Discuss possible actions they might inspire.
Lord, teach us to step outside ourselves. Teach us to go out into the streets and manifest your love.
True charity requires courage: let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty, so as to help those in need.

3. How does this passage correspond with Isaiah’s prediction in the first reading?

4. How have you or someone you know experienced a unique healing touch from Jesus?
5. What areas of hearing and speaking would you like the Lord to touch and heal in your life?
6. How do you feel about the presence or absence of the miraculous in your life?

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