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Be Opened! • Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the readings for Sunday, Sept. 9, Jesus opens the ears and tongue of a man, and God promises us that we are always protected by him.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

Readings

Isaiah 35:4-7a
Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!

Psalm 146
Praise the Lord, my soul!

James 2:1-5
My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 7:31-37
“He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Reflection

This week’s readings are the good news of God’s healing presence. In the first reading, Isaiah tells us to never fear because God is coming and will make all broken things whole. We don’t have to go out looking for God because, “he comes to save you.”

James, in the second reading, reminds us that God doesn’t make distinctions between the rich and the poor, except to choose “those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom …” Both of these readings are reminders of Jesus’ fulfillment of the messianic prophecies: That he is the one who would bring healing, salvation, restoration, and is God who comes to save us.

Our Gospel is the famous story of Jesus’ healing of the deaf mute telling him to “be open.” This Gospel is the foundation of the “Ephphatha” rite in baptism. The priest or deacon touches the child’s ears and mouth and says, “Ephphatha. Be opened.” This blessing is an invitation to all who receive it or hear it to keep our ears opened to God’s grace, and to have the courage to speak that grace to those who also need to hear it. They recognize God’s power in Jesus because he’s doing the things that the Scriptures foretold that the Messiah would do.

Kids

God loves to take care of the poor. How can you help take care of the poor?

Teens

Do you believe that God heals the sick? Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever seen/experienced one?

Adults

What do your ears need to be opened to? What do you need to pay more attention to, and need to act on?

Bonus Challenge

James tells the Christian community not to treat anyone as second class citizens. Who are the people in your communities that aren’t treated as well as everyone else?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

Follow Jen Schlameuss-Perry:

Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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