Living in Christ: Steadfast In His Mercy

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 5, 2021

Homily by Fr. Erel Villanueva

First Reading: Isaiah 3:4-7

Second Reading: James 2:8-9, 12-13

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146 : 3 – 9

Gospel Reading: Mark 7 : 24 – 37

In our passage today, the Lord made two miracles: the deliverance of the daughter of the Canaanite woman and healing of a deaf and mute man. He showed us how merciful He was to us and that we may respond in faith, humility, and thanksgiving to Him.

First, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking for His mercy and help for her daughter. Jesus told her that He came for the Jews only and to give food first to the children (Jews) then to the little dogs or pet dogs (non-Jews). Jesus said this not to insult her but to stimulate her faith. She was not after the food on the plate but just the little crumbs (mercy) that fell from the table. She understood that she was a Gentile, who had no covenant with God and no right to ask, but still she was appealing for His mercy. Her great faith amazed Jesus and He granted her request.

Mercy here is not just compassion but “favor given to us even we don’t deserve it.” It is synonymous with the word clemency. Clemency means forgiveness and forbearance of the punishment to the offender even justice requires it. Just like us who are people who were not Jews and judged to perish because of our sins, God in His mercy sent Jesus to die for us and through faith in His death, we received forgiveness and became part of His kingdom. He did it not because of what we have done, but because of His love and He’s own choosing.

The healing of that deaf and mute man is our healing too. Away from God we can’t hear and speak of the goodness of God for were in bondage to sin. When we believed in Jesus, we experienced the “EPHPHATA” means “be opened or be released.” He opens our spiritual eyes, ears, and hearts to God. He also released us from the bondage of sin and death.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good and his mercy endures forever Ps.106:1

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