Gospel Reflection for
The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sacraments and Canonizations
St James expressed this bluntly in his New Testament Letter: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
The harmony between words and deeds, appearance and reality, is so important for Christ that he built it right into the very fiber of Christianity.
All the sacraments, the source of God’s grace for the Church, have two elements: form and matter. The form is the words that explain the meaning; the matter is the material that is transformed into a channel of grace by those words. If you have just the matter or just the form, you have no sacrament; you need both. So, if a priest says the words, “this is my body, this is blood” over a piece of pizza and a glass of orange juice, nothing happens. But when he pronounces those words of consecration over the unleavened bread and the wine mixed with water during Mass, Christ becomes truly present in the Eucharist. Likewise, if a penitent goes to confession and receives absolution, but then purposely refuses to fulfill his penance, his is not freed from his sin. That would be hypocritical – saying he is repentant, but not really being repentant. The Church’s process of canonization shows the same focus on integrity. Hundreds of people may testify that someone was truly holy and a model of heroic Christian virtue, but unless the intercession of the saint-to-be brings about a miracle, there can be no canonization.
If we come to Mass on Sunday and say all the right prayers, but then we go to work or school on Monday and make no effort to live as Christ would have us, nothing happens in our souls – our lives don’t bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, because we are hypocrites.
Real faith requires real action.
(From ePriest October 2023
(From ePriest September 2023