23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B21
A professor who taught Scripture at a well-respected school was known for being very strict in demanding that students be on time for his classes. It was said that he even refused to let the students into the classroom if they were only a few seconds late and would give them a zero on a quiz or an exam!
The final exam on the New Testament was scheduled to take place at 10 am on a Monday and, as might be expected, the students were hurrying to make it on time. They faced one difficulty as they ran up the steps to the building where the test was to be given: a man was on the steps begging for someone to pay attention to him! He was dressed in shabby clothes that hadn’t been washed for weeks. His personal hygiene was worse than his clothes. His breath smelled; his hair and face were dirty. His toes were sticking out of his boots. He was a mess, looking like Pig-Pen from Peanuts. The closer it got to 10 am, the more the students tried to ignore him, giving as wide a berth as they could. But one student stopped, spoke to the man and was a few seconds tardy. Then the professor entered the room. It was the same man who was on the steps, with his faced washed and Scope© on his breath!
And only the student who spoke to the man passed the exam which was about today’s reading from the Letter of James and the Good Samaritan from Luke’s Gospel. The other students put their grades and fear of failure over paying attention to a person in need. The professor was Jesus in disguise.
Ephphatha! Be opened!
Open your ears that they might hear the cry of the poor!
Open your mouth that it might say words of comfort!
Open your eyes that they might really see those who labor and are burdened!
Open your arms that they might embrace all!
Open your hands that they might both give and receive!
Open your soul that it might be filled with tenderness!
Open your heart that it might truly love as Christ did and at his command!
Open your life that you may walk always in the ways of the Lord!
Be opened! Ephphatha!