Homily for Mass, Deschatelets Residence, Ottawa

[Readings: Col 1:1-8;  Ps 52;  Lk 4:38-44]


St Paul’s letter to the Colossians is brief: just four chapters long.  We hear the beginning of it today.  Later in the letter Paul will give the community some serious warnings, but he starts of positively, commending them for the fact that the gospel is bearing fruit and growing in the Colossian community as it was elsewhere in the world.


If St Paul were looking at us – even our little community here at Deschatelets – we’d hope that he’d be able to say a similar thing about us.  Would he commend us for the fact that the gospel is bearing fruit and growing among us?


I think it can be a danger for “professional preachers” like us (and I include the Sisters in that!) to forget that the first person we need to ‘convert’ is ourselves!  For those of us, especially the diocesan priests among us, who don’t ordinarily live in community, we have a great gift in these years to benefit from our time together.  We can help each other to truly bear the fruit that God wants from us.


The gospel today tells the familiar story of the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law.  We see that immediately after the fever leaves her at the command of Jesus, she gets up to serve Jesus and his friends.  The story reminds us that when God heals, even physically, it is for a spiritual purpose.  God heals us so that we can love Him more, and trust Him more;  and, so that coming to a deeper love and trust in God, we will share that love with others.  God heals us for the sake of evangelization and ministry.


All of us are in need of God’s healing.  We carry the wounds the world has inflicted on us and also the self-inflicted wounds caused by our own sins.  The Lord wants to heal us!  He wants to heal us so that we will be better ministers of his healing.  He wants to heal us so that we can more fruitfully participate in the new evangelization to which we are being called.


In many ways this is vitally important for us as budding-canonists!  If we consider our future work in marriage tribunals – but also more broadly: canon law generally becomes an issue when things have gone wrong:  how much the more will we be called upon to be ministers of the Lord’s healing through the just application of the Church’s law (which at the end of the day, is ultimately concerned with the salvation of souls).


As we offer Mass this morning, let’s pray that the gospel will bear fruit and grow among us;  and that we will be open to being healed by the Lord in the ways he wishes.