"Ephphatha!"-- that is, "Be opened!"

This is a miracle story. This is a story with baptismal overtones, for during baptism the priest touches the neophytes ears and mouth and says be open. This is a story about our lives with the Lord.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 9, 2012 (23B)
From the
Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: What are 5 major reasons we pray?

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading
Isaiah 35:4-7a

1. What lines in the reading indicate that not only will healing abound, but that God will also transform all nature? How does this promise of a new age relate to the coming of Christ? What in the world of nature can you help transform?

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?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

1. Our psalmist says, "The Lord sets captives free." In what ways are you captive, and how has the Lord set you free?

2. The Psalm proclaims, "The Lord gives sight to the blind." In what areas of your life were you not able to see things clearly, and give an example of how the Lord has enabled you to regain your sight.
Second Reading
James 2:1-5

1. Do you treat people who have money/prestige with the same respect that you treat those who don’t?

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

Mark 7:31-37

1. Do you think this miracle was performed simply to provide a cure for the deaf mute, or could it have been performed to teach a lesson also? What could the people of Israel, the Church today, or you personally learn from it?

2. What did “Ephphatha, be opened!” mean to the Israelites? If the message of the miracle in this Gospel reading goes beyond physical hearing, what is its meaning for you?

Sunday Bible Study Group
Please share your thoughts on the Sunday Readings. May we be blessed by God's words as reflected in your thoughts and experience-sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont10:12 AM

    “The Lord raises up those who were bowed down.”

    Our psalmist is singing about
    God's promises to the oppressed,
    the hungry, the prisoner, the blind,
    and those who are bowed down
    in one way or another.

    We could all benefit by being set free
    in the Spirit or healed so that
    we are no longer blinded.
    Then we too would no longer be lame,
    but would be able to “leap like a stag,”
    as the prophet Isaiah foresees
    in our 1st reading.

    The Psalm is telling us we really need
    to humble ourselves if we want
    to be raised up with Jesus.
    That may be hard to do if it means
    we have to swallow our pride
    and put aside worldly concerns.
    But it we truly want to be set free
    from the sins that bind us,
    then we need to repent and bow down
    before the Lord, accept our brokenness,
    and seek his grace.
    Only then will we begin to have
    a right relationship with the Lord.

    And where do we turn to be lifted up
    and made whole again? We turn
    to the Lord. Where else are the promises
    of our God fulfilled but in the healing
    ministry of Jesus, as the Gospel tells us.
    Who else has the grace and the mercy
    to heal us?

    Christ carries out the promises
    of the Psalm – He sets us captives free
    and gives sight to us so we can truly see.
    The Lord raises us up when we
    are down – he sustains us -- with
    real food and drink.

    So we can pray this Psalm, not only
    in honor of the heavenly Father,
    but also in honor of Christ, whom
    God exalted. “The Lord shall reign
    forever, through all generations.”