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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Sunday September 8, 2024

The readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B help us understand that God is faithful and merciful. In the first reading we hear that God saves us and brings us new life. The second reading tells us that God is impartial and loves all of his children. And in the gospel, Jesus cures a deaf man.

These readings bring to mind several questions. Do we truly believe that God loves each of us with impartiality? Do we try to love as God does? And are we ready to have our ears opened to listen to what God is telling us?

Daily Mass Readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

  • First ReadingIsaiah 35:4-7A: God promises to deliver and heal, transforming the afflicted and the barren landscapes into flourishing life.
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 146: The Lord is forever faithful, providing justice, sustenance, and freedom, supporting the oppressed and thwarting the wicked, ruling through all generations.
  • Second ReadingJames 2:1-5: Treating people differently based on wealth contradicts faith in Jesus Christ. God honors the poor in spirit, promising them His kingdom.
  • GospelMark 7:31-37: Jesus healed a deaf man with a speech issue in the Decapolis. Despite Jesus' instructions, the news of his miraculous power spread widely among the astounded witnesses.

Free Resources for Youth Ministry or Religious Ed

Be Open A Lesson Plan on Listening to God
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Be Open – A Lesson Plan on Listening to God

This lesson plan goes with the gospel reading for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B. Do we suffer from spiritual deafness? Are we able to hear what God is speaking to us?

Prayer of Trust in God Based on Psalm 146
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Prayer of Trust in God – Based on Psalm 146

This prayer of trust in God is based on Psalm 146, the responsorial psalm for this Sunday. It speaks of depending on God about all other things.

Silent Sorting Game for youth ministry or vbs
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Silent Sorting Game

This game can lead into a discussion about listening and communicating. How well do we hear the Word of God and are we able to pass it on?

Social Media Graphic

fear not
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"Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you." This quote from Isaiah is in the first reading for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B.

Fox and Chickens Tag

Fox and Chickens tag is a variation on tag where the people at the front of the line try to protect the last person. This game could be used for a social justice theme about protecting the marginalized.

Homilies and Background Material

Ephphatha

This homily from Bishop Barron for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B focuses on how we can be deaf to the Word of God. We need Jesus to do this for us also!

Have You Stopped Listening to Jesus?

Do you listen to the voices of the outside world instead of hearing our Lord speaking? Ask Jesus to open your ears to His voice.

Opening the Mind

Also from Bishop Barron, from a talk he gave at Google on the subject of religion and opening the mind and the will.

All Things Well

This reflection from Scott Hahn directs the listener's attention to the phrase "He has done all things well." Jesus goes beyond what is on the surface and makes all things new.

We all have ears, but very often we cannot hear. There is, in fact, an interior deafness worse than the physical one: the deafness of the heart that we can ask Jesus to touch and heal today.

Pope Francis

More thoughts on the gospel for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

We all suffer from spiritual deafness at one time or another. It is not necessarily that we can't hear. Sometimes we don't want to hear. Just as we don't want to listen to a person who has a different opinion on some subject, we also don't want to listen to God.

But Jesus does all things well. He can heal us just as surely as he healed the deaf man. We need to give him the time and the opportunity though. That could mean spending more time in prayer. And possibly spending that prayer time listening, instead of just asking for our needs.

One thing is sure. Jesus will heal us of our spiritual deafness if we humbly ask him to.

This is the medicine: fewer useless words and more of the Word of God. Let us hear the words of the Gospel of the day addressed to us: “Ephphatha, be opened!” Jesus, I want to open myself to your Word, open myself to listen. Heal my heart.

Pope Francis

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