Thursday, Oct. 15th 2020

Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church

Today's Mass Readings

A person who penetrated deep into the Mystery of Christ was St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as Teresa of Avila. Born in 1515, she lived to the age of 67 – which, in the sixteenth century, was a pretty full life. She entered a house of the Carmelite Order when she was twenty, and, for many years after that, she played a major role in reforming the Carmelite rule and practice throughout Spain and far beyond. She wrote many books on the mystical life and gained much respect from 3 popes, many bishops, and a host of theologians. The title ‘Doctor of the Church’ was conferred upon her in 1970. The Women’s Movement can look to Teresa for support.

With Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, we begin the ‘Queen of Epistles,’ in which Paul presents his mature thinking about Christ and the Church. First, we read his key statement about the cosmic importance of Jesus Christ. He says: It was “part of God’s plan, ‘ere time began, to choose us in Christ – and, after time will have run its full course, to bring all creation under his headship.”

Being chosen and confirmed in Christ affects how our lives and deaths of us Christians will be judged in eternity. Before the New Testament martyrs, God’s chosen ones were the authentic prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus adds in Luke’s Gospel: “Someone in the present generation must account for the blood of all the prophets who were persecuted and put to death since the foundation of the world – everyone from A to Z, from Abel to Zechariah.” Persecuted when alive, true prophets are respected only when they are dead.

In his critique of Pharisaic legalism, Jesus declares that those teachers of the law only want to erect tombs, while they themselves are whitewashed sepulchers. Being hypocrites as they are, they act toward the prophets and apostles just as their forefathers did. In fact, they bar the way to everyone who wishes to gain access to the true meaning of the Law.

After Jesus spoke so harshly to the scribes and Pharisees, they became very hostile toward him and challenged him to speak on a multitude of issues” – just as might occur at a Congressional hearing. Imagine one person – a judicial nominee? – being barraged hour after hour by a panel of questioners who try to trip her up somewhere in her answers. Jesus was innocent of every false allegation, and he answered every question truthfully. No charge of theirs would prevail against him. Indeed, they themselves should have been the ones to be questioned. They had – and we too may have – a lot of explaining to do.

Much like the scribes and Pharisees, some people are still refusing to accept Christ and his gift of salvation. But you and I do accept. We will get to heaven, not because we are good, but because Jesus Christ is good. May we deeply appreciate his great love.

Reflection by Fr. Quentin Kathol, OSB

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