Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time(C)
Today there are many things that have forcefully imposed themselves on us and are piling up on our list, and one of them is our attachment to computers, television, cellular phones and other electronic devices. We have practically become slaves to them. We spend too much time, money and effort in them that we have almost forgotten wholesome interaction in family meals and community activities, in allowing children to play with other children and in many adventurous activities to commune with nature, and many have even brought these things between them and God while praying at home and in Church, as well as losing some sense of family and the sense of presence to one another.
In all Churches we see notices, and one of them is about turning off cellular phones. We have been so attached to them that we cannot even separate them from our bodies. Many cannot postpone for a few minutes to answer their phones even in the middle of a meeting, when talking with someone, in the middle of meals, or even in church. So far, I particularly like one message saying: God has a message for you, but not through you cell phone. Turn off your cell phone. Come in and listen.
Yes, the world is too noisy and too busy putting up with its own sophisticated and complicated advancement, and we participate actively in making the world more blaring by wanting to talk more and faster than our capability to think, rather than observing and listening first, so that we can express words of truth and wisdom. The world also pushes hard on us its technological and infrastructural development that makes us move according to its pace, many times to our own expense and disappointment. Our minds seem to be led into the world’s hustle and bustle that we want to fill every space of time with activities, which seem to indicate that we are afraid of silence and physical inactivity for the sake of reflection. Our relationship with others becomes wanting of much needed precious time for appreciation of each one’s presence. Pope Benedict VI, in his homily in Sulmona, Italy on July 4, 2010, said: “Let us not be afraid to be silent outside and inside ourselves, so that we are able not only to perceive God’s voice, but also the voice of the person next to us, the voices of others…. We could have done nothing ourselves if it had not been given to us: God always anticipates us and in every individual life there is beauty and goodness that we can easily recognize as his grace, as a ray of the light of his goodness. Because of this we must be attentive, always keep our “interior eyes” open, the eyes of our heart. And if we learn how to know God in his infinite goodness, then we will be able to see, with wonder, in our lives — as the saints did — the signs of that God, who is always near to us, who is always good to us, who says: ‘Have faith in me!’”
God has a message: “where I am, there also will my servant be” (Jn 12:26). He dwelt among us so that we can be close to Him, not just by doing things for the sake of doing them, but by being with Him daily through prayer, reading and reflecting on the Scriptures, celebrating the Sacraments fervently, and by being faithful to our responsibilities. Like Mary, Martha’s sister, we can be so “anxious and worried about many things” (Lk 10:38-41):
– We can be anxious and worried about our house, rather than spending a good amount of time with our family;
– We can be anxious and worried about what to eat, rather than appreciating what we have;
– We can be anxious and worried about the world’s economy, rather than live according to our means and enjoying the dignity of work;
– We can be anxious and worried about violence and cruelty to the weak and the unborn, rather than teaching our children the culture of peace and life through a life of respect, humility and love;
– We can be anxious and worried about the speed and progress of the world’s technological capacity, rather than be thankful of all that we have, all that we are and all that we can do;
– We can be anxious and worried about sickness and the many problems of the world, rather than avoid the circumstances and conditions that bring sickness and difficulties, and make good use of them by offering them to God for the good of His people and the glory of His name.
Psalm 27 tells us: One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the LORD’S house all the days of my life, to gaze on the LORD’S beauty, to visit his temple. For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock (4-5).
We celebrate the Eucharist not just because it’s our obligation, but because Jesus commands us to do so and we want to receive Jesus and be with Him. Jesus comes to us with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for “it is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Col 1:28), and because we have chosen the better part (cf. Lk 10:38-42).