Homily of the Day

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

People don’t like been shown up in such an unflattering light, and it goes some way towards explaining the Pharisees’ implacable hatred of Jesus. He was not just showing another way. He was undermining their credibility and their way of interpreting the Scriptures. Theirs was a narrow legalistic version of the great Jewish faith. It was a thing of the mind alone, with no heart in it. What strikes us here is the absence of joy. They were unable to feel any joy at the old woman’s healing.

Religion without joy is hollow and shows itself to be a product of selfishness. The selfish person knows selfish gratification, but not joy. Joy is an expansion of the heart. To experience joy is to lose oneself, ultimately in God. Luke records that Jesus was filled with joy and so were his disciples. In each case he says it is joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, mentioned next to love by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Between the religion of the selfish person and the religion of Jesus there is a chasm that can only be crossed in one giant leap. It is a leap of joy in the Holy Spirit.