Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our readings throughout this week and for this weekend have caused me to think a lot about the soul and Jesus as the physician of our souls. Many of the Gospel readings this last week describe tensions between Jesus and the various religious leaders because there were differences between what they were teaching or expecting of others, but not practicing themselves. Jesus describes them as hypocrites and other not so flattering terms. I do not think Jesus is doing this to be cruel, but to diagnose an ailment or ailments that had infected them at the level of their soul. 

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church our souls are the most important and lasting part of ourselves. Our souls are created and given to us directly by God at the moment of our conception. It is our soul that makes us most like the image of God. Our soul is immortal; it does not die when our bodies die. Our soul is what gives life to our bodies. It is our soul that will be reunited with our body at the final Resurrection. Sacraments like baptism and confirmation imprint on the soul the indelible character that consecrates us for the worshipping of God.

For something that is so important and so precious, how often do we give much thought to our soul’s health? Do we stop to think about how our soul has been or is being effected by the conditions of this world, particularly now, with so much uncertainty and division? Today our Gospel tells us that Jesus looks into, is concerned about, and offers healing for our souls. Do you hear Jesus calling to you through your conscience? Through his love he offers us not only a diagnosis, but healing through scripture, liturgy, and the sacraments. Like any process of healing it may be uncomfortable, but His healing will allow us to his experience His goodness both here and in the life to come.

In closing I offer this prayer written by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

Lord Jesus, make us realize that it is only by the frequent deaths of ourselves and our self-centered desires that we come to live more fully; for it is by dying with you that we can rise with you.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Sunday, October 18, 2020