Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


In this Sunday’s second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, the Apostle of the gentiles speaks about a mystery, a mystery that has been hidden for ages is now manifested to God’s Holy Ones.  The mystery is this: Christ is in you[1].

Usually when we use the word mystery, we think of a story that has an ending we try to solve before we get to the last page of the book or last five minutes of the movie. When the Church uses the term mystery, it goes much deeper. For the Church a mystery is a truth that is incomprehensible to the reason and knowable only through divine revelation. The Early Church referred to the sacraments as the mysteries. The liturgy of the church is plenty of this kind of terms.

The main events of the action of Jesus Christ in our world is called the Mystery of Faith. At the most solemn time in the Mass, after the Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, we are called upon to proclaim the Mystery of Faith, and we respond something similar to: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

St. Paul, therefore reminds the Colossians and us that we have received a mystery, the Mystery that Christ is in us. Sadly when it comes to this Mystery many people, and many times we ourselves, are clueless.

Let us be honest: we go about our day, so busily engaged in doing this and that we overlook the purpose for our actions, we overlook the reason for our being, we forget about the presence of Christ. Like Martha in the Gospel we are concerned with doing instead of being.

Martha was busy doing this and that in her valiant efforts to prepare for Jesus. Mary, her sister, was concerned with being, with being with Jesus.

Today, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary time let us make a firm resolution: let us be focus in on the presence of the Lord right here, right now, in our lives, in your family and others, in the Church, in the world. This is the mystery that St. Paul is speaking about. Jesus Christ is here. When we are  attuned to the presence of the Lord, we will force ourselves to consider if a particular action or inaction  will strengthen or weaken the Divine Presence.

For example, some times people will say, “Well, the Church says this or that, regarding some situation or other, but I disagree.”  Well, it is not a matter of what the Church says, it is a matter of the presence of Christ.  It is not merely a matter that the Church says it is wrong to get drunk, it is a matter of considering what this action is doing to the presence of Jesus in our lives. A wise young priest and very good friend of mine once said to me, “A good way to judge whether an action is moral or not is to ask yourself whether or not you can pray better after the action.” Interesting. And true.  If after a course of action, we find prayer difficult, then we have probably have driven the Lord out of our lives, or at least we have diminished His presence.

We need to pray. We harbor, we treasure the presence of Christ within each of us, within our homes and in our parochial community. We need to make time every day to recognize this presence within us. We need to pray. We need to stop and hear the Lord in the silence. We cannot allow the many concerns of our lives to hide the only thing that matters, the presence of Jesus–His presence within us, His presence in those we love, His presence in those who reach out to us. We cannot allow anything to dull this presence, His Presence.

When we make the time to be in His presence, when we join Mary of Bethany in just enjoying the Lord in our lives, we will find ourselves walking a road less traveled, a road of serenity in the middle of hectic activity. My brother, my sister, when we choose to nurture the presence of the Lord within us, we, like Mary, will be choosing the better part


[1] Sunday 18th July, 2010, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Genesis 18:1-10. The just will live in the presence of the Lord—Ps 14(15):2-5. Colossians 1:24-28. Luke 10:38-42.

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