Tuesday, XVIII Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Saint John Vianney, Pray for Us

Readings: 1st: Jer 30:1-2. 12-15. 18-22; Ps 101; Gos: Mt 15:1-2.10-14

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today, the Tuesday of the eighteenth week of ordinary time, the Church honors a great priest, Saint John Vianney.

Well known as the Curé of Ars, John Vianney, was born in France in 1786. He was not very good in academics. However, he was ordained a priest in 1815, and made the parish priest of Ars after three years of his ordination.

He devoted himself to prayer, mortification, and pastoral works. He was very successful in directing souls. So, people from all works of life sought his guidance and counsel. He is the patron saint of parish priests.

John Vianney died in 1859. He was beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1873, and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

Today’s Gospel presents the discussion of Jesus with the Pharisees on the law of purity. They asked Christ: “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hand before eating.”

Today, the current COVID-19 pandemic has made us more conscious of the importance of physical hygiene. So, constant washing or sanitizing of one’s hands is now a very important routine of our life.

In fact, constant washing or sanitizing of hands is now a “law of physical purity or hygiene” that must be observed. At least, while the pandemic lasts.  

The Pharisees took advantage of a legislation like this to make life more difficult for the people. They mystified and took it to another level.

So, rather than for the purpose of physical hygiene, it became a necessary “religious” act, and standard of purity before God.

Christ’s response to the Pharisees today reminds us of what should bother us more. That is, the state of our spiritual life. How we live our life in relation to God, and in relation to others, should matter more.

Indeed, physical hygiene is very important. However, we should pay more attention to our basic Christian virtues that improve and balance our moral and spiritual life. These are what make us pure and holy before God.  

Saint John Vianney, Pray for Us!

Peace be with you.

Maranatha!

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