This afternoon we hear Jesus heal a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. There are several other forms of deafness or speech impediments that each one of us needs to pay attention to and ask Jesus to heal us from.
The other night, around nine p.m., I was taking out the trash and feeling like I’d run out of energy, and it was only Monday. That’s when I ran into an older woman who was coming in with groceries. I said hello and asked how her husband was doing. She explained that he’s in a skilled nursing facility, and there are some challenges. But then she said he had a great visit from a chaplain who came to visit, and they prayed “our prayer.” She then went on to pray a beautiful prayer, and her face lit up as she told me that she and her husband had said prayer together for decades every night, and they still do.
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Imagine a spring overflowing with crystal-clear water, its purity reflecting the light of the sun. This is the heart God desires for us—a heart cleansed from the darkness within, not just by outward rituals. Today's readings remind us that true defilement comes from our thoughts, words, and intentions, not from what we eat or wear.
When you hear Jesus quote Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me …” it can give us pause to consider whether or not our profession of faith at Mass and our prayers are rooted in our love for God or are merely familiar words said without thinking.
On Saturday night, my dad and I watched the movie, Father Stu Reborn. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of a man whose life is full of family heartache and personal struggles who discovers a loving God and ultimately becomes a priest … but not without trials.
In June 1983, Poland's Solidarity movement seemed crushed beyond hope. Pope John Paul II bravely traveled to his native land to become its great unifier. Consoling his fellow countrymen, he prayed for the patroness of Poland's intercession. "Mother of Jasna Gora, you who have been given to us by Providence for the defense of the Polish nation, accept this call of Polish youth together with the Polish pope, and help us to persevere in hope.” (His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time, pp. 379-380.)