From Father Steven - August 7, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have a lot of things happening this week. Yesterday we celebrated the day of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This upcoming week we have the celebration of St. Dominic (Monday), Edith Stein, Lawrence, and Claire. All great and very important Saints for the Church and for us. But what about today, the nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary time? Is there anything special about it?
Once I heard someone saying that extraordinary things happen in ordinary times. We live in a culture that only gives importance to things that are new and hyped, such as Tik Tok, new iPhone, etc. The old and the quiet don’t get much attention. Maybe they are not as charming and attractive as the rest of things. One of the pilgrimages I did with the youth was in New York City. In the morning I brought them to a very nice Zoo to admire God’s creation. They loved it. Then we took a ferry to Staten Island, where we got to see the Statue of Liberty, and we spoke that we are on a journey towards heaven where we get to see beautiful things. The next stop was Times Square. Once they saw all the lights flashing and all the stores, instantly they forgot all that we had seen on that day. They were mesmerized with it. They started taking pictures and admiring all the billboards and the artists of the area. Once we gave them some free time with the chaperones, they ran into the stores to buy things. Some of them spent all their time (and money) at the stores buying clothes. When the whole group came together, their eyes were glowing. They were so hyped that it was a bit difficult to control their emotions. The next stop was St. Patrick Cathedral. Surprisingly they did not have the same reactions. It was a somber experience. After a quick explanation of the building, we walked into the blessed sacrament chapel where they experienced something different. There were no flashing billboards, stores, or people calling their attention. There they were at peace. A peace that they often don’t experience in other places. After the trip many of them said that what they liked the most was visiting the Cathedral, because it reminded them of heaven. That was exactly the idea. They were able to see the difference between the life of heaven and the one on earth. One is very quiet, peaceful, and awe inspiring. The other was flashy, hyped, and new.
The experience that the youth had is similar to what happens in our lives. We watch the news every day, we are tuned to the latest happenings in the world, we watch all the new movies and series and get very excited about all of them. In the liturgical language we use the expression “allurements of the world” to call what is so attractive in the world. Instead, God is always quiet, as if He was waiting for his turn. Waiting for the door to be opened and to be invited into our hearts. He is very patient, and for some of us, He has been waiting a long time to come in. On this weekend when we hear Jesus speaking about the faithful servant who is vigilant to the return of his master, I invite you all to do the same. No matter what we do or where we are, we should always live in God’s presence. The Jewish men wear the Kippah (a skullcap cloth) to be a reminder that God is watching over them. If we spend our lives looking and consolidating perishable things, we will miss out on the return of the master. Instead, if we miss out on the world waiting for God's arrival, then we will be given everything.
Some of you have heard or seen Fr. Mike’s Podcast called Bible in a Year. It was a great production of Fr. Mike reading (and commenting) on scriptural passages through 365 days. It was a massive success. Now he is preparing another series called Catechism in a Year. It’s funny because we don’t see any hype or excitement about it. Some of us may not even have heard about it. Therefore, I invite you brothers to look for the Lord. Seek Him in different ways. Whether attending daily mass, adoration, confession, daily rosaries, reading small passages from the Gospel and meditating about them. The prophet Isaiah urges when he writes, “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.’ (Is 55:6) It is in ordinary moments when God operates the extraordinary, like this weekend’s mass, just as in the lives of the Saints we celebrate this week.
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Father Steven Clemence