Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19; Psalm 101(102):13-21; Matthew 11:28-30
Today we have one of Isaiah’s well crafted Psalms, revealing his well educated and thoroughly Israelite upbringing.
We have to recognise our fallen nature, and this causes us pain and anxiety; yet, we shall be saved and will rise again. There was – probably if we look at society as a whole still is – a division about bodily life after death, Isaiah clearly prophesying – teaching – that there is. This belief developed slowly as in Abraham’s time it was thought that the dead went to rest with their ancestors – this still the belief at the time of David (‘I shall go to join him, but he can never come back to me’ (2 Samuel 12.23). Then came a belief in Sheol – a sort of half life where the dead met again, but had no power, not even to praise God. This might be a little like the modern thought of purgatory. By Isaiah’s time we are close to our present belief in full life after death, which will be fulfilled at the end of time with a complete and joyful resurrection of the dead. We are created Body and Soul – and for the time between our death and the great resurrection at the end of time, we will be divided, our bodies returning to the soil (the created material universe) while our souls are in heaven.
There is this development in understanding of the truth that distinguishes Catholic theology from some christian thought and most other religions – that we are constantly learning more about he truth and gaining in our collective knowledge of God.
In addition, we should remember our parishioners who work in our hospitals today: it is the optional memorial of St Camillus.
Saint Camillus of Lellis (1550 – 1614)
He was born in Italy of a noble family. He became a soldier but his taste for gambling and riotous living eventually lost him everything. At the age of 25 he converted as the result of hearing a sermon. He twice tried to join the Capuchin friars but was rejected because of his poor health. Having had experience of hospitals from the inside, he determined to improve them, and he devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick. He offered himself to the hospital of San Giacomo in Rome and eventually became its bursar. Hospitals were as filthy, and hospital staff as brutal and inadequate, then as they are in many places today. He introduced many reforms and founded a congregation of priests and lay brothers, the Servants of the Sick (later known as the Camillians) to serve the sick both spiritually and physically. He was ordained priest in 1584. He resigned as head of his congregation in 1607 but continued to look after and visit the sick almost until the day of his death.