Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27 2020
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, Texas

Ezekiel 18:25-28
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

A story is recorded about Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. It seems that while she was serving as the Mistress of Novices in her convent, responsible for the formation of the younger sisters, one of them approached the saint and in frustration confided in her: “Oh Sister Therese, I am so far from perfection. I have so many good qualities yet to acquire that it seems that I will never be able to complete this.” To which Saint Therese replied, “No Sister, you have a lot of good qualities to lose.” The point that Saint Therese is making to the younger sister (and to us) is that holiness in our lives as Catholics does not consist in self-sufficiency and verbal compliance to the words of the Gospel. Our faith does not merely complete our life as one part, even if we think it to be the most important part, of our life. Holiness requires a humble response through action and change in behavior that frequently precedes our full change of heart and conversion. Holiness requires action in response to the promptings of God. It requires our conversion by the emptying of our self-sufficiency by which we attempt to live life by turning to God only when we need His assistance to complete our will. It requires our conversion to a spiritual disposition in which we simply respond to and do God’s will for love of Him. Saint Therese says elsewhere, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”

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