Jun 18, 2016

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 9:18-24


I would like us to meditate on some of the lines from the Gospel we have just listened to. This is to help us go deeper than the ink on the page, deeper than the page of the book.  In fact, when we open the Scriptures, God asks us, invites us to enter into his mind and his heart. How does he do this with this portion of the Gospel we have just listened to?

Consider the first line!  “Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him…” Does this not seem, at first a bit odd? How can you be in solitude, and there’s people around you, looking at you, watching your every move, wondering what you are thinking?

Maybe it’s easier than we think.  We can slip into our own little world.  You can sit in the bus or the rain and put on your earphones.  You can sit in the middle of the classroom and daydream.   You can “veg” in front of the television.  You can create your own little virtual world around you.  For most of us, our “solitude” is an escape, not an encounter. Jesus was not escaping from anywhere!

“Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him…” This is a parish church.  Would it not be easier to pray in solitude if we were in a monastery, or a convent?  Granted, our Lord would every so often climb a mountain top alone or go off into the wilderness alone. And it is necessary for us to find quiet places to refresh our bodies and souls, every so often.  But when he walked among us, most people did not go looking for him on mountaintops or in the desert. He found them. Where? In the middle of their ordinary lives, their everyday lives.

It can happen here. It does happen here.  Even though this church can be filled with a thousand people, and we see everything around us, we hear the voices of others, we walk up and down the aisle, a baby starts crying, a cell phone goes off, someone starts coughing, a door slams, someone sneezes, you hear prayers going on here and there, you see people shuffling in and out of the confessional, then others are up and down to the restroom, a child then acts up, a parent gives restless kid a clip on the ear, someone drops their prayer book… are you able to be like Jesus and pray in solitude with all the disciples around you?  Yes.

When we pray, we do not escape to a world that we have dreamt up, or built up from our own thoughts and resources.  When we pray we meet God, we can find him here and there, as he continues to still walk into our lives, we just have to give him the attention he deserves as our God and the time he seeks so that he can share his life with you and me.  He sees us in the crowd. We see him in his solitude. And when we look in his direction, our eyes meet in the crowd.  Even from what seems to be a distance, there is the joining of hearts.  We recognize that it is him, that he is listening, that he is speaking, and that he is looking at us.  And in that encounter, everything around us fades into the background.

Now, we have only meditated on one line from the Gospel.  Dare we move on to the second?  Not now or we will be here all day and evening! Instead, that one line from the psalm that we repeated again and again, might do us well to repeat again and again throughout the day in the solitude of our hearts and souls; “My Soul is thirsting for you my God”.

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