September 5, 2021

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
    • Psalm 125
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Isaiah 35:4-7a
    • Psalm 146
  • Second reading
    • James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17
  • Gospel
    • Mark 7:24-37

The gospel from Mark:
From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.

The Canaanite woman asks for healing for her daughter
ca. 1500 Juan, de Flandes
Palacio de Oriente Painting
Madrid, Spain

Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go–the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.

They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Pastor Stevensen’s two younger daughters are studying the bible together using Facetime on the Internet. They called their father with a question: Why did Jesus ask the crowd to tell no one? Pastor replies that this has long been a topic of discussion. In fact, it is referred to as a Messianic Secret. An answer is that Jesus did not want a “dog and puppy show.” Why not? It is not God’s plan, which is not easily understood. A bigger slice of time is needed than that for one miracle. The whole life of Jesus all the way to the cross was God’s plan. One must keep in mind Jerusalum in which the Cross is central and where God defies sin and death. What is wrong with people talking? It focuses on short-term problems, such as hunger, starvation, etc. In the wilderness Jesus had been tempted by the devil to turn stone into bread. That was not God’s will. The story is compelling. Pastor continues on in his sermon to conclude with the knowledge that the Cross is offered to all.

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