Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 9, 2018)

In today’s Gospel, we experience God in Jesus who, through healing the deaf man, brings hope of a New World to the whole human family. St. Francis de Sales remarks:

Hope, like an arrow, darts up to the gate of Heaven, but it cannot enter there because it is a virtue wholly of earth. Hope is possible because God places in our hearts the desire for eternal life and then assures us that we can attain it. God places hope in our heart through the many promises made in the Scriptures. God’s assurance that we can achieve a life of eternal joy infinitely strengthens our desires and calms our heart. This calm is the root of the virtue of hope. Assured by faith that we can enjoy the promises God made to us, we wait in hope as we grow in God’s love with one another.

While our hopes and expectations bring joy to our heart, they also may bring sadness to fervent souls. Not finding ourselves the saints we hoped to be, we are often discouraged in the pursuit of virtue that leads to holiness. Have patience, lay aside that anxious care of yourself, and have no fear that anything will be wanting to you.

We need not hurry so fast. However, we must use the means that are given to us according to our vocation, and then remain in peace. We need to walk ardently, yet tranquilly, carefully but confidently. That is to say, we must have more confidence in Divine Providence than in our own work. When all human aid fails us, God takes over and cares for us. We have God, who is our All. Let us trust in God who will make us holy in time. For God, under whose guidance we have embarked, will always be attentive in providing us with whatever is necessary for our perfection. Let us begin to live well, according to our vocation: patiently, gently, and simply. For no one who hoped and trusted in God’s Goodness and Providence has ever been disappointed.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)