July 14th, 2019 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I looked up the word “neighbor” and pleasantly discovered that is can be used as both a noun and a verb. A neighbor is someone who lives nearby, and to neighbor is to ACT as a neighbor should.
In the Gospel of Luke this Sunday, Jesus is asked “And who is my neighbor?” and responds not with a definition of where someone lives, but in the story of the Good Samaritan how a true neighbor acts. Our Holy Father has so wonderfully expressed that we are called to be a culture of encounter, always trying to see the other as my brother and sister, my neighbor, no matter what.
It is really hard to put people in groups that separate when we encounter them as real people. To begin the work of solving racism, we need to meet people of other races. To begin to understand the issue of immigration, we need to meet immigrants. To begin to understand those who struggle with poverty, we need to meet them.
To put it briefly and simply, we need to neighbor more people to understand who is our neighbor and begin the seemingly daunting task of acting like a neighbor to all, especially those most different than we are. With God’s grace, that which seems most daunting is really possible!
For in the end, we are all children of God. He neighbored us by sending His only Son, whose universal call to loving others makes every neighborhood a good neighborhood, stretching far and wide the Kingdom of God.
So neighbor, get busy neighboring!
Sincerely, with love,
July 7th, 2019 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Yet know this: The Kingdom of God is at hand.
(Gospel of St. Luke, ch. 10)
As we move through the summer and Ordinary time in the liturgical calendar, we pray that “holy rest” be high on our list of things to do!
It goes without saying that we live with fast-paced, busy, full, and at times, crazy schedules. When I was a kid, I loved summer vacation because there were no more pressing tasks than playground attendance, bike-rides, baseball, tennis, beach visits, and field trips. Maybe grass cutting, but the summer July heat burnt out the grass, to my father’s disappointment and my joy.
This summer, as I approach my sixtieth year, I decided not to go anywhere for the months of July and August. Not only the rigors of age, but the demands of running parishes and the wise care of good spiritual direction have prompted me to slow down and take some holy rest. I promise to keep working hard, but I will waste some time too!
I remember reading a book in college by Josef Pieper called Leisure: The Basis of Culture. I am going to reread it—might I suggest you Google it or go to the library. In it, he maintains that in this modern era we have forgotten the true nature of leisure and in our “productive” lives, we sometimes miss out on what is really going on for a believer—God’s Kingdom is here! In beauty and love, in relationships, in prayer and meditation! In time spent with Christ through restful renewal!
So take some time! If you need me to call your boss, I will (smile!)
Sincerely, with love,