Mark 7:31-37 Sept 9, 2018 

As I was going through some of the homilies for today’s text from the Gospel of Mark, I found something very interesting. Some years ago there was a study conducted by Washington Post in which Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most famous violinist was asked to play his $4,000,000 worth violin in a subway station in Washington DC. He dressed exactly like a street musician and performed his best pieces of music for 45 minutes. They found, with the help of a hidden camera, that out of 1,097 people that passed by, only one recognized him and offered a $20 bill and all his earning for those 45 minutes of the world’s best music on that world renowned violin was just $32.17 

Paul Andrew writes in Sermon 

“Many readers of the story started to cry. As one person said, “I cried because I find it scary and depressing to think of how oblivious most people go through daily life, even smart and otherwise attentive people. Who knows what beautiful things I’ve missed by just hurrying along, lost in my thoughts?’’ Another person said, “It’s almost a panicky feeling, that if a performance by Joshua Bell on his Strad gets lost in the shuffle, what about all the smaller, more beautiful things that happen every day and could be making people happier, if only they paid attention?” 

Many a time, we are so lost in our daily activities and lost in our own limited concept of the world that we become totally blinded and do not want to see the truth. Some detest and don’t want to hear about it at all and some become activists and will jump to conclusions and opinions that they don’t want to change. When we speak about ecumenism and dialogue we just can’t go there unless we are ready to be challenged, open for change, and ready to accept the truth. That is why Jesus said, “Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” Mk8:16-17 

Many of us are blind, deaf and dumb. In many ways, we need to hear that ‘Ephata’ from the Lord. Before I took up social work and started visiting the slums, I was so ignorant of those places in the city and never even realized that people are living in such conditions. I would pass by those areas every day and feel nothing. But after I started visiting them, I started seeing them everywhere. Our pride, arrogance and ego can blindfold us to such an extent and make us believe that we are the only right people. Today’s media too can taint people and paint people and make it look as if that is the only reality. Especially, those reality shows that are so far from reality. 

According to the most recent estimates, in 2013, 10.7 percent of the world’s population lived on less than U.S. $1.90 a day. Nearly 15% of the world is still illiterate and the quality of education is so poor in many of the countries. How much are we responsible for the misery in the world? It is easy to be blinded and blame people for nothing that’s not their fault. How much food is being wasted every day by rotting, wasted by not eating, wasted at the stores not being sold in the stores and in restaurants overcooked? If all that being wasted is channelled properly, we could save the population under the poverty line from going hungry. 

We have fallen prey to the relativism and justification of prejudiced minds, which Jesus opposed and appreciated the good. It is not my fault. When people are dying, exploited and persecuted many of us will not speak about it. How much are we sensitive to the needs of people? Am I my brother’s keeper? Whereas, Jesus teaches us to love your enemy and love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

It was a few years ago, three priests in Bijnor Diocese in India welcomed a few mentally ill on the street to their home, cleaned them and gave them shelter and food. Today, they house nearly 150 of them. I think there is scope to love and care for in every part of the world. In Dayton are nearly 400 who were provided shelter and around 65 who remained homeless in 2015. And in that year, the number had increased from past years. Let us hear that “Ephata” from Jesus that we open our eyes to the needy. Open our ears to those who are unheard and open our mouth to speak the truth. 

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