23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel highlights the importance of the body. In the Gospel, God the Son who could heal with just a word, none-the-less makes a point of touching the man and involving the body. We might have been saved by a simple act of Divine will, but instead God the Son united to himself a human body – so that the body becomes part of the way we are saved.
All this is essential to the faith. On earth Jesus taught us, loved us, suffered and died for us through a human body and a human soul just like ours. Risen from the dead and ascended into heaven he has taken a human body like ours into heaven.
Thus it is part of the Catholic faith to respect all creation and especially the body - for not only was a human body part of the work of our salvation but all human bodies have been dignified by the promise of a share in the resurrection.
Our bodies too are the means by which we follow Jesus. Catholics proclaim the unity of body and soul. When I pray both soul and body are involved, my gestures, my attitude, my words, when I receive Holy Communion my soul and body are involved I receive and eat that which my faith believes is Jesus. It is not just my soul which will through God’s mercy live for ever in heaven but, at the end of time, my body too.
As always we have a practical application in St James. It isn't the externals that matter, clothes or riches or social standing, it's the person, body and soul that matters.
Note too a revelation of the Trinity hidden in that Gospel. Jesus, God made man, is able to touch the man, Jesus looks up to heaven a sign of God the Father, and Jesus sighs which is often an indication of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Every act of Jesus is an act of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.