Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Everyone needs silence: the teacher, the nurse, the social worker; the artist, the poet, the doctor; the lawyer, the housewife, the cabdriver. To neglect this need is to risk living a tense, fragmented, spiritless life. Meditation in out Catholic faith is not confined to monasteries; it is a survival measure in the modern world. If we do not nourish our souls, they deteriorate as do bodies without food. To maintain any kind of Christlike presence in the world, we need to seek silence and its fruits in the practices of spiritual reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.

The spiritual lesson for this Sunday, after the gospel reading- is very easy, quite simple to understand: we all have a need for quiet. We all have a need to be away from the noise of the world and be alone with the Lord. Jesus himself would seek out a quiet place to pray to the Father. In today’s Gospel, He encourages the disciples to join him in prayer, in the quiet[1].

There are few questions that we have to ask the Lord every day. One of them is this: why am I doing what I do? Which are my goals? These are good and noble and Christian goals for life? Why do I do what I do?

My brothers and sisters, deep questions need to be asked and answers need to be sought every day. But we cannot do that without going into the quiet. How can you do that, especially if you have children? How can I do that, especially if I have a large number of people with daily needs? The only way you and I can find the time to be in the Sacred Quiet is to make the time.

But we don’t need the quiet just to ask questions. We need the quiet just to be with the Lord, and to know Him very well.

We need quiet time to be with our Lord. We don’t have to say any particular prayers. We don’t have to have an agenda of things to do. We just need to be with Christ, in His presence, just…talking with Him.

Our world is too busy, way too busy. Our lives are too busy, way to busy. But, really, we are not that different from the first disciples. They had just returned from healing and caring for the sick. They had hundred, maybe thousands of people gathering around them, wanting to hear about the Kingdom of God. They were busy doing the Lord’s work. Perhaps, too busy. Jesus told them and us, what we need to do. Come with me, he says in the Gospel, to a deserted place and enters into the quiet. Then you will be ready to get back to the work of the Lord.

Mother Teresa use to say: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature –trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls”.

Yes: every one of us is busy. All of our lives are full of noise. But all of us can find ways and must find ways to turn off the sound, and tune in the Lord. We have questions to ask, and a Divine Presence to cherish.

Our Lady's presence in the Church thus encourages Christians to listen in silence to the word of the Lord every day, and to meditate his loving plan in various daily events. Let us pay attention to our blessed Mother and her advices, let us hear her voice, perhaps she is saying to us a gentle and kind SHH, that means Silence Helps Healing, SHH ■

[1] Sunday 19th July, 2009, 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want—Ps 22(23). Ephesians 2:13-18. Mark 6:30-34.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris