WITH ST. MARY'S
THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
By practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we recognize Christ in everyone and better the Church.
SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The life of a Catholic living within the world should be centered on two methods of active Christianity: practicing the spiritual works of mercy and the corporal works of mercy. Still, there are many opportunities for us to lose sight of the universality of our faith and to focus too much on either corporal works or spiritual works. In these moments, we must remember the story of Christ in today’s Gospel, who honors the hard work of Martha, but promotes and affirms the loving dedication of Mary.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
We are very familiar with the corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, and bury the dead. Many of the great religious orders of our faith have the corporal works at the center of their way of life; it is the best way in which we can show our neighbors true love and true charity. But it is absolutely crucial for the survival of the Church that we remember and perform the spiritual works of mercy, as well: instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bear patiently those who wrong us, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, and pray for the living and the dead. While both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, practiced in harmony with each other, are necessary for the survival and the promotion of our faith, the simple truth is that not everyone is gifted in each of these works. Some are more inclined to perform certain corporal works, while others have the talent and ability to perform certain spiritual works. This is a wonderful thing, and we should not chastise or admonish our brothers and sisters in Christ simply because their focus is on a different work than ours. Working together, we see the fullness of the works of mercy being carried out in the Church. This was the primary issue for Martha in this Sunday’s Gospel: she believed that because her sister Mary was inclined to a different way of serving Christ, she was failing in her duties as a Christian. We must be careful not to criticize or judge those within our own Church simply because they do not practice the corporal works enough or the spiritual works enough. Find how you can best serve Christ, and work with those who can perfect those things in which you are lacking. Together, God is served perfectly.
Family activity to do at home: Modern society is very good at the corporal works of mercy; because of our society’s foundation in Christianity and the Christian ethical life, it is a primary goal for all people living in community to be charitable and to serve the needy. But as Catholics, we must hone our ability to practice the spiritual works of mercy. This begins in the home. Teach your children how to properly instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bear patiently those who wrong us, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, and pray for the living and the dead. Above all, teach your children how to do these things in a charitable manner. Follow the link below to see how you can implore the Holy Family to guide you in this undertaking.