The Readings for Sunday 17th July 2016 or the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C:
[The readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]I think one of the hardest things to do is to listen and even more difficult than listening is hearing and understanding. We spend so much of our lives being busy we don’t really know how to stop, how to be quiet, how to listen and and to hear.
Yesterday, as I started to write this homily I sat down at my keyboard and had know idea where to start. I had half an idea what I wanted to say but really couldn’t find the words I wanted to use. So what do you think I did? I first got myself a drink, then as I did that I noticed the cherries I had picked during the week still in the fridge so I stoned them and made jam. Then of course I had to tidy the kitchen, do the washing up, etc, etc, etc…
You get the idea, I managed to perfectly play the role of Martha without even thinking about it. It wasn’t until I started to run out of time and returned to my keyboard and read through the readings again that I realised how much I had missed the point.
Today’s gospel tells us to take time to stop. To take time with God. To really concentrate and to listen to what God is telling us. If we do that then maybe we have a chance of hearing what God has to say to us. Can you remember what the first reading was about today? Can you remember what the psalm was saying, can you remember the Response to the psalm you said 4 times only 5 minutes ago? There are times when I am concentrating more on what’s just happened or about to happen that I don’t really listen. I find myself thinking as I walk up to read the gospel, what was the first reading. It’s terrible of me, but it is so human.
I am not saying that the work isn’t important. I am saying that spending time with God is important. We need to do both. Maybe for every six days of work we could spend one putting God first. I am sure I read that somewhere in the Bible :-).
Today’s message is about forcing yourself to step away from life. To stop. To concentrate. And to listen to what God has to say to you.
We have that opportunity each Sunday when we come to mass, but we have to take it. As we come into church we have to remind ourselves to slow down, to stop, to be quiet, to embrace the silence, to let God fill the silence. I know it’s hard, the business of our days, our work and our play will flood into any gap we give it. So in an attempt to make things a little easier for us I would like you each to take a few minutes when I stop speaking to do the same exercise the children are doing in their liturgy class upstairs. The have eight pictures, four of things they do like Martha and four like Mary. They then have to decide which tasks God would like them to do. The picture were:
1. Making your bed
2. Cleaning up your toys
3. Sweeping the floor
4. Taking out the recycling
5. Reading the bible
6. Praying to God
7. Listening at Church
8. Going to Bible class
I think most of us are Martha, but wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to be a bit more like Mary. Have a think what tasks does God really wants us to do?
About the Author - Deacon John Scanlon
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