Listening to our first reading today, we may find ourselves thinking we are in Advent. Isaiah proclaiming the triumphant entry of God, when all ills will be repaired, and the earth will be restored to its original state before mankind had been appointed as stewards.
St James’ letter urges us not to judge and points out what appears to be common prejudices which have continued to this day. St James is urging us to open our eyes and see how we treat people differently according to how they look, act or present themselves.
The Gospel passage today tells us how Jesus touched a deaf man; opened his ears to hear and loosened his tongue to speak. He asked the man to keep this to himself. But the man and his relatives and friends were so overwhelmed by the generosity of Jesus that they wanted to tell everyone.
How grateful are we for how Jesus has touched us? Are our ears open to God’s message and do we listen? Do we share the good news of what Jesus has done for us with those around us?
Like many of you I give to charity, it is comparatively easy to do so online nowadays. Recently, I had a day out in London. I was struck by how many people seemed to be living on the streets; with many people begging as I passed on by. I convinced myself that there were so many that I wouldn’t know which ones to help. I realise now that I was judging them in a similar manner to those described in St James’ letter today. I wonder how poor I look in Jesus’ eyes; me, a sinner? I realise that I need to try and help those in front of me, show them the same mercy that I hope and expect from Jesus; and perhaps accept that it is not enough just to give from the comfort of my armchair.
Our readings today, speak of hope; our hope in the Christ who is to come and heal the world. We only have to believe, that belief allows Jesus to touch us through His Sacraments; that touch heals us.
In turn we are expected to share our belief and knowledge of Jesus with those we meet. The people Jesus healed were asked not to share at that time. This was because the time was not right; however, the right time is now. Through our Baptism we are compelled to share our faith. Our faith is not a private thing, our faith is to be spread to those we meet.
An example of sharing our faith and developing a deeper understanding and love of Jesus is to take part in some of the courses offered. This Monday is the start of a 10 part series called Metanoia1 which explores topics such as who Jesus is, what we must do to inherit eternal life, and many other significant matters of faith. It is an online course and having attended a course previously by those who have made it; I highly recommend it. (Please use the link in the foot note to view a preview and express your interest.)
We have read throughout Scriptures of how Jesus always looked to help the sick and the outsiders. They just had to demonstrate they had faith. They would try to touch Him or allow themselves to be touched by Him. As Christians we are called to love God and our neighbour. Our world is currently in crisis. In addition to the Pandemic, there are parts of the world on the brink of famine due to drought, war, revolution, earthquakes or tropical storms. The people in these areas need our help and support, Cafod are already running emergency appeals;2 please give what you can.
Cafod are also running campaigns in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Conference [COP26] in Glasgow3. They are urging everyone to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to help persuade the British Government to show real leadership in protecting the nations who have done the least to harm the environment; from paying a larger share of the cost during the climate crisis.4 Please go online and join this campaign.
Our Liturgy is asking us to use all of our senses today; we have to open our ears to hear the Word of God. We are to allow ourselves to be touched by God, we are not to turn our noses up to those in need, we are to see where we can help and, in the Eucharist, we are to taste and see that the Lord is good. Let Jesus touch us by His word and His precious Body; through His mysterious actions He frees our tongue to share the Good News, Jesus is alive, Jesus is present, and Jesus wants to touch every person in the world to free them from the bondage of sin. We, in turn, are asked to be His hands, eyes, ears and feet.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)5
CCC 1503-1505: Christ the Physician
CCC 1151-1152: signs used by Christ; sacramental signs
CCC 270-271: the mercy of God
Please keep in your prayers
- All those returning to school environments; especially those who may be afraid because they are starting at a new school, college or university.
- The people of Afghanistan, Haiti and other crisis areas of the world, that they receive the help they need.
- God’s creation, that mankind will become better stewards of this world which has been entrusted to us by God
- Those who are sick, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- Those preparing to return to Mass.
- The Year of the Eucharist, which has now started, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
- All the clergy and parishes affected by the movement of clergy.
- All spiritual formation classes as they restart; for the catechists and attendees, that they may hear God speaking and feel His touch.