Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 21, 2019

We have, in many ways this past week, remembered yesterday’s 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on our moon.  Many of us my age and older can remember watching it in our living rooms on black and white TVs, hearing those words now enshrined in our minds, “One small step for man; one giant step for mankind.”   Those of a more recent generation may have difficulty capturing the magic, the amazing accomplishment of that event.  And all this also got me thinking about what else in memory from 50-years ago:   

When we had to get up from our chairs to change the channels on the TV and adjust the rabbit ears to get the best picture on the VHF or UHF channel.  When we would take a drive through the countryside, without Google Maps,  going nowhere at all, and would roll down the windows of our car with handles, not buttons.  When we waited for the coffee to percolate rather than demanding a cup at a moment’s notice.  When we paid for things with cash and took photo’s on cameras with film, never knowing until it was developed if we actually caught the image we wanted.  When our thumbs were used for hitching a ride instead of texting a message.  When on hot, humid summer days we didn’t close the windows and shut the doors and crank up the AC, we opened windows and doors and went out on the front porch, waving greetings to our neighbors who did the same.   

One would think, given all the devices, inventions, technological advancements and time-saving measures that have been introduced over the last 50-years that we’d have hours upon hours to sit in quiet contemplation before God every day.  What happened?!

It makes we ask myself, and by way of this homily, ask each of you:

If three strangers showed up at our doorstep -or maybe even the one we live with who has become a stranger- would we shut off the TV long enough to hear their story, believing, as Abraham and Sarah did, that they may well be delivering a message from God? 

Would we stop worrying about whether our house was worthy of guests and worry more about if our hearts were worthy of guests, or sat quietly as the sun set absorbing the holiness and grace of the moment? 

If we could actually find a percolator coffee pot, would we sit in a prayer of gratitude as we waited for the bubbles of magic burst into the little glass cap in the lid, knowing it would offer its nectar in due time?

Would we set our camera down and instead of trying to capture it in some digital format for the future, rarely to be seen again, just look deeply into the smile or the sunrise or the performance happening right before us in real time.

Would we go fishing simply for the sake of fishing, to be, as a friend of mine recently said, “one with the fish,” not worrying so much if we caught it or were at our limit or if was oversized or undersized or in season or not in season?  Just for the pure beauty and enjoyment of it all?

Would we embark on a journey going nowhere just for the opportunity to discover; or strike up a conversation with a stranger in line at the store instead of texting our friend who we’re going to see in five minutes, anyway; or pick up the phone and call someone we haven’t talked to in a while (phones still do allow you to do that, you know) instead of sending another undecipherable emoji?

It seems that Martha, anxious and concerned about many things, was missing the opportunity. Would we?  


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