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1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19; Mark 7:31-37

In today’s gospel the crowd brings to Jesus a deaf man with a speech impediment and begs Jesus to lay his hand on him. Note how Jesus deals with the man, one on one,  sensitively, carefully and compassionately.
“He took him off by himself away from the crowd.  He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is ‘Be opened!)”

Jesus is not a mass healer. Jesus looks individually on those who come to him for help and  adapts his help to their specific need, be it for physical or psychological healing or for encouragement and forgiveness.  This poor man was “deaf and dumb.”  So Jesus touches his ears as well as his tongue, and prays to his father. The gospel notes that immediately the man’s ears were opened and his speech impediment removed. 

The basic question for Jesus is always: What does my neighbor need from me today?

How often we find ourselves selfishly reversing the question  to  What  do I need from my neighbor? 

As members of the Body of Christ our primary vocation is extending Christ’s presence: we are Christ’s hands and hearts on this  planet.   God depends on us to touch our neighbor as Christ would if Christ were here. Let’s thank God for giving us the  Spirit of Christ in baptism and ask God to be open to this Spirit so we might truly be  Christ’s presence for others.

By Dick Hauser

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)

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