Friday, July 19, 2013

In the Presence of the Lord

Reflections on the Readings
July 21, 2013 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time- Year C

In the Presence of the Lord

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." 

Mood Elevator: Press C for Curious

Senn Delaney helps companies find their focus. His program aids them to discover or rediscover the necessary culture to have loyalty, profits, and creativity again. He zeroes in like a laser and helps his clients to look inside their organization and at themselves from the leadership to the receptionist. He asks, "Do you start your day being curious and interested?" 

Delaney offers a mood elevator model suggesting that doing anything right begins with a genuine, focused interest, and a healthy curiosity. The end result is a creative and inspiring office, home, or parish, and it all starts with a healthy heart and mind filled with wonder and curiosity about ourselves and others and the future we want to help everyone to have.   

You remember Moses, don't you? He encountered a spectacular thing. He worked for his father-in-law keeping watch over his flocks. One day he found himself near the mountain called Horeb. Out in the middle of nowhere on the westside of the wilderness, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. The bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. What did Moses do? He became curious, eager to understand what he was seeing with his own eyes. He said, "I'm going over there to get a closer look and find out why that bush isn't burning up." Soon he found himself on holy ground and leading some say as many as 2 million souls on a journey to the Promised Land. 

The Hour Glass is Running out of Sand

Many complain that they have no time for the stuff that really matters - like family, friendships, and their faith. We are very busy now-a-days. Our schedules are filled to overflowing. We are anxious and overwhelmed because we feel like time is running out, like sand pouring through our fingers. It seems like there's just not enough minutes in an hour to get things done. There's not even enough time to notice the lilies of the field. (Matthew 6:28) 

Teaching families and companies how to manage their time is a big industry. One axiom states, "Don't work harder; work smarter." It is true that we only have so much time in a day. However, H. Jackson Brown says, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." Perhaps it would be smarter to pray this prayer: "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12) 

Choosing Jesus over our Distractions

Our first priority is to have and to know the presence of Christ in our lives. Are we growing in the faith - a faith Jesus said moves mountains - a faith that makes known to us the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love for us? (Ephesians 3:17-19) Paul invites us to ponder more deeply the mystery of our faith in the second reading. He explains it as a mystery once hidden for ages and generations. For a while it was only a shadow and a promise afar off. But now, now in the fulness of time, its riches and glory is revealed which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

This is the Jesus Mary chose in our Gospel reading today. Wisely taking time to sit at his feet, Mary of Bethany, listened to Jesus as he invoked his love on her hungry heart.

"Tell her to help me, Jesus!" Martha pierces the air with her hands and her words.

"Don't you care that she's not pitching in to help me, Jesus?" Martha retorts.

Martha's stern and condemning words create a noticeable chill in the room.

And with both arms lifted toward Martha, Jesus invites her to sit with her sister. "Here, here Martha, come. Please come. Here's a place right here next to me. Don't be distracted by your distractions. Mary has made her choice; make it yours." 

Jesus melts the unseen ice cycles with his warm invitation.

Praying for a Holy Curiosity 

The promise of Holy Scripture is that they who trust in God and wait for him shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) When we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. (James 4:8) Again the prophet Isaiah exclaims, "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.(Isaiah 55:6) And then once more from the Apostle James, "Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you." (James 4:10)

Every Sunday we come together and place ourselves in the presence of the Lord. Let us come closer to him with thankful and joyful hearts. For a few moments lay aside the distractions of life and hear Jesus say once more, "This is my body; this is my blood." And then let us be more curious; more awe-struck, like Mary of Bethany; like Abraham and Moses, and do as Theresa of Avila instructed: "Be with him willingly; don't lose so good an occasion for conversing with Him as is the hour after having received Communion...If you immediately turn your thoughts to other things, if you pay no attention and take no account of the fact that He is within you, how will he be able to reveal Himself to you?...After having received the Lord, since you have the Person Himself present, strive to close the eyes of the body and open those of the soul and look into your own heart."  

It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Amen. 


Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail him at:   Visit him at:

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