PS: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.

Sketchbook

Pope Benedict XVI

Jesus’ gestures are full of loving attention and express deep compassion for the man who stood before him. The Lord showed the deaf man his concrete concern, drew him aside from the confusion of the crowd, made him feel his closeness and understanding by several gestures full of meaning. He invited him to turn his interior gaze, that of his heart, together with him to the heavenly Father. Finally, he healed him and restored him to his family, to his people. By his way of behaving which reveals the heavenly Father’s love, Jesus does not only heal physical deafness but points out that there is another form of deafness of which humanity must be cured, indeed, from which it must be saved: it is deafness of the spirit, which raises ever higher barriers against the voice of God and that of one’s neighbour, especially the cry for help of the lowliest and the suffering, and closes the human being in profound and ruinous selfishness.

Pope Benedict XVI

We can see in this “sign’ Jesus’ ardent desire to overcome man’ s loneliness and incommunicability created by selfishness, in order to bring about a “new humanity’, the humanity of listening and speech, of dialogue, of communication, of communion with God. A “good’ humanity, just as all of God’s Creation is good; a humanity without discrimination, without exclusion… so that the world is truly and for all a “scene of true brotherhood’”

Pope John Paul II  ”Jubilee of Universities.”

For you, dear Brothers and Sisters, these words [Ephphata, "Be opened"] are an appeal to open your spirit to the truth, which sets you free! Christ’s words summon you to become this “Ephphatha” for countless hosts of young people, to become this Word, which opens the spirit to every aspect of truth in the different fields of learning. [As those] who have opened your hearts to Christ, your vocation is that of living and bearing witness, to this relationship between the individual branches of knowledge and that supreme “knowledge” which concerns God. Through your contribution, the University becomes the place of the “Ephphatha” where Christ “at work in you” continues to carry out the miracle of opening ears and lips, of bringing about a new capacity for listening and a true communication.

Fr. Kevin Gabriel Gillen, O.P.