23rd Sunday of Year B


Catholics who believe they can “supplement” Catholicism with Buddhism and New Age practices are like a husband or wife who supplements  their spouse’s attentions outside the marriage. (Adobe)



In the First Reading, it is “the eyes of the blind,” “the ears of the deaf,” etc. In the Second, it is the eyes through which we see our neighbours. In the Gospel Reading, it is the deaf and those who cannot speak.

All the readings appeal to us to open ourselves to the truth. “Ephphtha,” Jesus said: “Be opened.”

In our society today, many people think that they are “opening” themselves to new “truths” – so called – by seriously considering the doctrines and practices of other religions, especially Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.

No. That is a closing of oneself to the truth of Christ in favour of the old beliefs and superstitions that preceded it: Gnosticism, esotericism, astrology, pantheism, etc.

Christ is the perfect image of God the Father. In him, God revealed all he had to tell us about himself. Therefore, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, anyone now “desiring some [new] vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour, but also of offending [God], by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.”…..

Fr. Michael Chua



Being a deaf and mute person would have been a double handicap in any ordinary society. Much of social interaction and communication and in fact all aspects of life, education, work, entertainment, religious worship, heavily depend on one’s ability to hear and speak. Technology, sign language skills and interpreters may help mitigate some of the obstacles to communication, but it is clear that in a normal hearing and speaking society, the deaf and the mute are grossly disadvantaged.

In today’s passage, we have this man who was both deaf and had a speech impediment. He was not just cut off from the rest of society by his inability to communicate, but would have also been considered an outcast in the highly ritualistic and auditory Jewish community. The most fundamental commandment incorporated into the daily prayers of a Jew begins with these words, “Shema, O Israel” or “Hear O Israel” (Deut 6:4-5), but for a deaf person, these words would have made no sense whatsoever as he is unable to heed the call to listen to God. The rite of passage for a child as he passes into adulthood would be determined by his ability to read the Torah and proclaim it in the community thus qualifying him to be called “Bar Mitzvah” or a “Son of the Law/ Commandments” but once again, a mute person would have to remain perpetually infantilised as he is unable to read and proclaim the words of the Torah…..

Fr. Austin Fleming



Sometimes the scriptures speak of miracles and healings as if they happen every day – as if they grow on trees. But they don’t. Still, who among us hasn’t prayed for a  miracle? For the cure of someone chronically or terminally ill? For God to intervene in international affairs to bring peace to war-torn lands? food for the third world? an end to violence in our streets? Who hasn’t prayed this past week for the refugees whose fragile boats are failing to make land on the shores of freedom? Does it seem unfair that the Lord would “tease” us with promises of safe passage in Isaiah and the miracle cure in the gospel?

Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino



Noise in our lives:  “Did you see what she was wearing?  To Church of all places?  Guess who just broke up?  Noise Noise Noise.  Mom, Dad, can I have…..? go……? would you buy me……?”  Arguments over who played what role in a movie, or who did what on a sports team.  The phone rings, “You have a tremendous opportunity to save money now by having your driveway resurfaced this week instead of putting it off and have to redo the entire driveway three years from now.”  NOISE.

And Jesus took the man away from the crowd, away from the noise.  He took him to have a personal encounter with the Messiah.

 He calls us away from the crowd, away from the noise to his quiet. –Quiet before the Lord is so important–A few moments  before and after Mass…




In today’s Gospel we glimpse the awe of those who witnessed Jesus’ miracles and works live. Jesus, in the scene we encounter today, had already made their hearts burn with his preaching. They had seen him cast out demons, cure many who were sick, feed a multitude with few pieces of bread and fish, walk on water and even raise a young boy and a young girl from the dead. On the force of this reputation, several true friends brought a man who was deaf and mute to Jesus, begging him to lay hands on him. They were not to be let down. The Lord put his finger into the man’s ears, touched his tongue with spit, looked up to heaven, sighed, and cried out in Aramaic, “Be opened!” and the miracle was worked. Amazement seized them all. Even though Jesus told them not to say anything about the miracle, they couldn’t help themselves. They were astounded beyond measure and cried out “He has done all things well!”

Fr. George Smiga



Mark Twain has called kindness a language that the deaf can hear, and the blind can read. What is kindness? It is the ability to understand another person, sensing the burdens which that person must carry, and using our own resources and power to ease those burdens. When we first think of it, kindness might come across as a weak feeling, or a wimpy motivation. But kindness is in reality a forceful power than can save and heal. Jesus acts with kindness in today’s Gospel.

The clue to Jesus’ kindness is the particular way he chooses to heal the man who is brought to him. Normally Jesus heals with a word of command. But he adapts his method in today’s gospel because the person who comes before him cannot hear. Two thousand  years ago there were no cochlear implants, or hearing aids or artificial eardrums. There was not even an organized system of sign language. People who were deaf were isolated, totally isolated even from those who were closest to them. Therefore, we do not know whether those who brought the man to Jesus for healing were able to communicate to him where they were taking him or why. It is not clear whether the man knew of Jesus or his ministry.




What does He say what needs replaces our fear, trust! Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. So how do we get trust when we are afraid, very simple, well not that simple but something that helps me, which I’ve been saying a thousand times, it’s my mantra is “Jesus I trust in you!” So when you and I are getting afraid, when fear is being instilled in us and we want to give into this fear what do we say? “Jesus I trust in you!” What do we say? “Jesus I trust in you!” What do we say? “Jesus I trust in you!” The fear will be diminished by our trust! The trust will destroy our fear, so very practically, that things are starting to drive you crazy, “Jesus I trust in you!” That trust leads us to hope, and our hope is that final thing to say “be strong!” “Fear not! For your God comes with vindication to save us!” That God is going to save us and we got to have this hope inside of us which is bigger than this darkness that we talked about for the last two months, this hope that God is in charge and this hope that God is going to come and He would make all things new. This is something God is still in charge of and when we forget that, that’s when we get afraid. That’s when we get weak, when we look at ourselves, our situation, and we must together look at God, who promises us to take care of us, and to save us.

Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ



It is Christ who saves us, yes, not our works. And it is by faith in him that we accept salvation. But this does not mean that all our other actions count for nothing. The authenticity of our faith is tested out by the fruit it bears, particularly in our relations to each other—more particularly still, in our relationship to the poor. The Letter of James is not unique in stressing action. Most of the words attributed to Jesus do the same.

Concern for the poor and the marginal is not a pet theory fabricated by liberation theologians or some left-wing ideology. It is as old as Isaiah: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened, be strong, fear not. … The eyes of the blind will be opened the ears of the deaf be cleared.” Our God is concerned with the fate of those visibly wounded and at the margins of life.

Fr. Eugene Lobo, S.J.



One of God’s attributes is to liberate people, freeing them from all the fetters that bind them and bonds that hold them away from the divine. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created everything that was good and placed the creation at the service of man.  He gave them the freedom to man so that he could make use of all created things and serve him the Lord and creator. He manifested his love to us by offering us total liberation, which we need to accept with gratitude and a simple heart. He wanted us to manifest this love towards others. He gave us his Son in Jesus as his gift to us and who in turn taught us that only through love can we manifest our presence towards others. He came to save us all. He showed his special care towards the poor and the sick and healed them. In today’s Gospel Jesus heals a man who was deaf and was suffering from a speech impediment. Jesus touched him and healed him after which he could hear clearly and speak the good news of the Kingdom to all. This was the pagan territory and people showed great admiration towards him.  In the first reading, we have the Prophet who is a chosen servant of God reflecting on his mission. Nothing could break his trust and confidence in God. He knows that God is coming. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unsealed.  In the second reading, we hear that faith without work is dead. Living faith will perform works of charity. James tells us that God has chosen the poor of the world to inherit the Kingdom.

23rd Sunday of Year B



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Rev. Lee Fangmeyer (Pastor, Mother Seton Parish – Germantown, Maryland) preaching homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time three years ago on September 9, 2018 in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington DC.

Sunday Homilies

SEPTEMBER 5, 2021 | SEPTEMBER 9, 2018 | SEPTEMBER 6, 2015 | SEPTEMBER 9, 2012 | SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

23rd Sunday of Year B

Cardinal Tagle
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Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
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In today’s Gospel, Christ’s healing touch restores sound and speech enabling a man to hear and to speak plainly. In our Gospel, there is a very important and wonderful word used. The wonderful word here to the deaf man was of course the Aramaic “Ephphatha” or “Be opened”. Biblical experts tell us that this was the only word Jesus spoke in this Gospel. In its deepest meaning it sums up the whole message and the whole work of Christ. The Evangelist Mark writes it in the same language that Jesus pronounced it in, so that it is even more alive to us. Because humanity is inwardly deaf and mute as a result of sin, God became man in the person of Christ so that we “become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to our heart, and learn to speak in the language of love.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican Radio, September 9, 2012)

We should make Ephphatha part of our own vocabulary whenever we run into situations where people are uptight. Specifically, we should say “Ephphatha” to the old who are closed to creativity and change, to all who have lost their sense of humor and turned sour and cynical, to co-workers so that they stay open to challenges and surprises, to ourselves so that we live with eyes open to God’s wonders, ears open to God’s wisdom, arms and hands open to hug and help and heal.

We should use Ephphatha in our houses, in our business places and wherever we go. The world proposes so many things for us to listen. When we listen to the trash all around us, we deafen our ear. Jesus is speaking every day to us. He wants us to open our heart. We must bear it in our minds that according to Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We must be able to respond like Samuel: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!” (cf. 1Samuel 3).

From healing this man, we learn that Jesus is very attentive to the needs of those around Him. He meets them and heals them. He does many wonder works but avoids public display or being praised. The ecclesial community ought to do the same. We are ambassadors of goodness, of mercy, of fraternity, of Christ’s affection; but we should never seek praise or recognition in the things we do. Such things, besides being unimportant, are a nuisance to our call; the call to follow Christ, to preach the good news of Jesus, to proclaim the values of the Kingdom, to work towards the construction of a more just world; that is what matters. Jesus’ attitude is a direct contrast to the practice of healing seen in our today’s healing miracles all advertised on TV Screens.

Christ is there to heal us! Ephphatha! Be Opened!

Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
Please pray for me

Jeff Cavins
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John Michael Talbot
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23rd Sunday of Year B

Bishop Robert Barron

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Photo above will be replaced by video when sermon is available. Check below for a list of Bishop’s most recent sermons.


Sunday Podcasts


by Bishop Robert Barron . September 9, 2018 .

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man who is deaf and dumb. When we read this account at the spiritual level, we see that he cures those who are deaf to the Word of God and hence unable to speak it clearly. How relevant this message is to our own time!


by Bishop Robert Barron . September 7, 2003

Our Gospel story today concerns a man who is deaf and dumb. He is symbolically evocative of an Israel that had grown deaf to God’s word and, accordingly, unable to speak God’s truth clearly. We are meant to identify with him, for we too often allow God’s voice to be drowned out by other sounds, and we too are frequently incapable of articulating our faith in a compelling way. The solution is to be plugged into Jesus, to listen to him and to allow him to speak through us.

Recent Podcasts

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23rd Sunday of Year B

Father Frank Pavone
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Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, shares thoughts on preaching pro-life on the 23rd Sunday of Year B. He talks about the integral salvation that Jesus brings and how discrimination has no place in the Christian community. For more pro-life tips, resources and updates, visit



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The readings of today bring us to the heart of two key principles of our Faith that undergird our pro-life commitment to defend the unborn, and all the marginalized.

The first is that of “integral salvation.” The Church does not only seek the “salvation of souls;” rather, it’s about the salvation of the human person, in body and soul, including all human relationships and institutions. This is made very clear in the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.” Defending human rights, and creating a just social order in which those rights are protected, is therefore at the heart of the Church’s mission. It is not some kind of political “add-in” to that mission. Stopping the dismemberment of children is part of promoting integral salvation. Our Lord reveals the integral salvation he comes to bring through his healing of the deaf (Gospel reading) as was foretold by the prophets (First reading).

The second principle is that of non-discrimination, which the second reading brings into clear light. Today, the legal status of the unborn in America is different from any other group of people, because, as Roe vs. Wade said, “The word person as used in the Fourteenth Amendment does not include the unborn.” It is, essentially, a policy of exclusion and marginalization, and today’s second reading makes it clear that such a stance has no room in a Christian heart or a Christian society.


General Intercessions

Celebrant: Confident that God listens to our needs, we present our prayers and petitions in faith.


That the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, will faithfully proclaim God’s law as revealed through Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we pray to the Lord…

That world leaders will work together to find avenues of peace among nations and sustain a vision of hope for the world, we pray to the Lord.

That as America celebrates Labor Day we may renew our gratitude for all the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country, we pray to the Lord…

That in our lives and in our laws, we may never discriminate against the poor, the immigrant, or the unborn, we pray to the Lord.

That those who have difficulties in hearing and speech may always be welcomed and assisted by the love of the Christian community modeled on the example of Christ, we pray to the Lord.

That all who have died in Christ may be welcomed into the light and peace of heaven, we pray to the Lord.


Eternal God, we offer you our prayers.
Open our hearts to listen to your Word,
and our lips to proclaim it without fear.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

SOURCE: Priests for Life

Life Issues Homilies website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.

God “needs” us for his Reign to break in

Al Carino

When the allied forces led by the United States pushed back the Iraqi army to its borders in the 100-hour 1990 Gulf War, the whole world cheered. But not Pope John Paul II. Why? Because for him, war does not make peace, it is “a defeat for the whole of humanity.”

Rich In Faith And Heirs Of The Kingdom

Frank Enderle

The liturgy, our Holy Mass, is a dialogue between God and His people. We cannot gather together to praise God if we show our contempt and our disdain for the people who want to be part of our community simply because they are poor.

Healing Touch

Antonio P. Pueyo

Your hands are Jesus’ hands in this time and place. Extend His healing touch.

Having a Voice

Antonio P. Pueyo

We thank God that we have a voice, that we have a contribution to make. We can make a difference in this world. In some way we can make our voice be heard, even if we are not too loud. The crying voice of a child, the soothing voice of a mother and the gentle voice of a teacher can make a difference.

The Touch of Christ Heals

Douglas P. McManaman

Only when the deaf man was alone with Christ did healing take place. It’s not enough to be in a crowd of believers, standing on the coat tails of their faith, so to speak. You have to go off to be alone with Christ; you have to come to know him and know yourself through his eyes. website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.

EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

23rd Sunday of Year B

Laudato Si’ – POPE FRANCIS
Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life
and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for
health care, agriculture and industry. … Water poverty especially affects Africa where large
sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which
impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure
drastic scarcity. (28)

Click to access 23rd_OT_B_9-5-21.pdf

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