Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection Question: Where in my life do I need to slow down and meet God in the moment?
I recently began a new assignment as pastor of two churches. The pace of tying up loose ends and packing, moving and unpacking, getting settled and beginning anew can sometimes be dizzying. In the midst of it, I’ve been trying to really listening to everyone around – to take in information and collect all the pieces of the puzzle that make up parish life in these two faith communities. I take it in stride, but there’s a lot of pieces!
Recently had a meeting with a parishioner to get some perspective on some things in the parish, and as I always do, before we began the meeting, paused for prayer.
Often when I come to prayer I just pause, and take a deep breath and stop for a moment to place myself in God‘s presence. I always find that an important way to begin prayer and to disengage from the busy-ness of life. I even once read a great little book, The Practice of the Presence of God by French Carmelite Brother Lawrence.
At the end of the prayer, this person, who is a businessman, thanked me for ‘hitting pause.’ We both realized how important it was to stop. He said “I needed that.” He didn’t know it, but I needed it too!
Friends, we are not robots. We are fearfully and wonderfully made as the psalmist says, and we are created for Communion, for relationship with God and one another. And so throughout our days as we serve God and one another, we must also learn (and re-learn) to hit pause, to recharge, to place ourselves in God’s presence and draw strength and inspiration from Him.
That’s an important message of this Sunday’s Gospel, in which we hear the familiar story of Martha and Mary. There is a rich tradition about the reading in the life of the Church which speaks of both an active and contemplative life –both of which are valid and necessary. We all can identify in different ways with both Martha and Mary. But in our busy world, I think many of us have a lot of Martha in us!
Anyone who knows me will know that I truly enjoy cooking and hosting – being like Abraham and Sarah in the first reading in Martha in the Gospel. But at the same time, for me, the greatest joy of hosting is seeing my guests happy, at rest, enjoying themselves.
The challenge then is to not get lost in the busy-ness of life, and so lose sight of what is really important. Sometimes a deep breath and a prayer is just what we need to hit the ‘reset’ button and chose the better part! Today we’re invited to reflect on hospitality – our service to others, and make sure that we don’t miss the moment by meeting God in the moment, and making time for Him in prayer.
By: Father Daniel Ulishney, Parochial Vicar, Immaculate Conception, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Rita, Connellsville, and St. Aloysius, Dunbar