Readings: September 9, 2012 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37 The Message

      Isaiah 35:4-7a

Thus says the Lord: Say to those who are frightened: Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees.

Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song.

Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain.        © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

James 2:1-5

          The Royal Rule of Love

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ- originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?

Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—”Christian”—used in your baptisms?

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

      Mark 7:31-37

    Then Jesus left the region of Tyre, went through Sidon back to Galilee Lake and over to the district of the Ten Towns. Some people brought a man who could neither hear nor speak and asked Jesus to lay a healing hand on him. He took the man off by himself, put his fingers in the man’s ears and some spit on the man’s tongue. Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, “Ephphatha!—Open up!” And it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech plain—just like that.

Jesus urged them to keep it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, beside themselves with excitement. “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless.”

© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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