Reflection: Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Is.35:4-7; Ps.145; 2nd Reading – Jm.2:1-5; Gospel – Mk.7:31-37]


It is a natural reaction to become amazed whenever we encounter something we consider as extraordinary. The more extraordinary we consider something to be, the more amazed we become and consequently the more we feel the need to share it with others. And this is the scenario we find ourselves in today’s Gospel. The people saw Jesus’ extraordinary healing power, they could not keep it to themselves, and they made it public and made it known as far and as wide as possible hence “their admiration was unbounded”. Such a response is not unexpected for it was uncommon see a physical healing of someone who is deaf and dumb – Jesus extended His hands over him, sighs as He looks up to heaven and says one word (how interesting this compares to the Sacraments which takes place in the Church today – the laying of hands, the prayer to God and the words used). Anyway, the people’s admiration was so great that they expressed it in words, in two short phrases, that show something about Jesus. Firstly, they said Jesus has “done all things well” and in the Old Testament we are told that God “did everything well”. Although we are not specifically told that Jesus is God himself, this notion of Jesus being God is further enhanced by their second phrase “he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak”. Making the deaf hear and the dumb speak is a recurring image of God’s love and kindness when he intervenes with His people (as reflected in today’s first reading).

But why did Jesus order them to tell no one about what they saw? Although they were recognizing God in Jesus, they were not yet ready to accept that He truly is “God” and Jesus knew this would create more confusion because in their minds there is only one God and therefore logically Jesus cannot be God. Jesus’ insistence and ordering of not telling anyone was provoked by those who have not experienced Him and would never understand and accept Him as the Son of the Living God, let alone as God himself – which is in fact what happened!

Jesus was not just an Extraordinary Healer, but He was also the One who the Old Testament spoke about; not only the Messiah, but God Himself. What Jesus did in today’s Gospel reflects the same things that God did in the past to show that He cared for His people.

Sometimes, we find it difficult to understand Jesus too. We know (and we say) that He is God but it appears that we sometimes act as if it does not matter that much to us. It is true that we do not have a physical relationship with the man Jesus (who proved to be God in words and action) but do we believe that since He is God, we can have a relationship with Him? Are we ready to go to this Extraordinary Healer for his powerful healing? Perhaps if we find ourselves not quite ready to go to Jesus directly, are we ready to let someone else, whoever this may be, to guide us to Him?

“Lord, You tell us many things in Your word, but we selectively hear what we want to hear. Give us the wisdom to learn to be more attentive to Your awesome presence in our lives and to recognise You for what You truly are. Thank You Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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