(Father Shannon’s homily on Sunday, August 20, 2017)
In today’s gospel, Jesus uses words and actions to heal. We may ask why – since Jesus is God, He could have just willed it to happen. However, Jesus did this to use His human nature (although in a perfect way, unlike us) as well as for our benefit. As humans, we use our senses and God never acts against the human nature He created. If Jesus had not used actions and words to appeal to our senses, it might not have been obvious that the healing was due to Jesus’ powers.
The sacraments were also established by Jesus while taking our human nature into account. A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to bring grace. In the sacrament of baptism, the pouring of water and the words are the outward signs which accompany the sanctifying grace. Our Lord did all things well in establishing the sacraments this way – appealing to our physical bodies and spiritual souls. Each sacrament is composed of matter and form. For example, in Confirmation, the matter is the holy oil. Form is always the words spoken.
All things are done well by God – and by knowing this, Catholics may come to know the infinite wisdom of God.