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Back Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Friday, July 19, 2019
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
In our technological age, I’ve read some rather terse comments on social media platforms like texting, emails, or facebook posts that turned into rather heated arguments with both sides engaging in name calling and total disrespect for each other. Most of the reason for this I believe is the one dimensional experience of such media platforms. It’s not like having a interactive real conversation with someone face to face. In most circumstances, such misunderstandings would never occur in the multilevel communication, in the presence of others.
This weekend’s Biblical lessons, exhibit the value of spending time with another and experiencing it as a moment of divine grace. In Genesis 18 this weekend, we hear the story of Abraham and how he welcomed three visitors. Customs of welcome and hospitality vary in different cultures and Moses’ welcome, as well as his appeal for his guests to remain with him, eat, and take some rest was typical for that particular culture of the time. But his hospitality did not escape notice from God, who through the three visitors offers a prophesy of his wife’s miracle pregnancy and birth of a child in the next year. That visit and attending to his visitors, yielded a divine grace and blessing.
In the Gospel narrative from Luke 10, Jesus comes to enjoy the hospitality of his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. While food preparation is so vital to good hospitality Jesus points out that Mary’s role of attending to Him by her listening presence points to the importance of attending to our guests by our attentive presence.
In our fast paced world, we often don’t have time to spend with each other. We become “human doers” rather than “human beings.” Somehow being productive is more valued than that of just being present to each other. When I was in the monastery, one of our ministries was that of “presence.” Each week one of us was delegated to walk the property at our shrine church in Wisconsin and be present to the many visitors who would come to site see, visit, and take time to pray. Just the presence, the conversations, the photos etc. were valued and created space for a blessing.
As we move through summer time, let us make sure we take some of that time just to be present: to God, to nature around us, as well as to our families and friends. May God add a blessing to your life as you take time to “be” for others.
A LONG WALK TO WATER is a work by Linda Sue Park. She tells the story of a young man, one of the “Lost Boys” of the Sudan, Salva Dut. This book is part of the seventh grade curriculum, throughout most school districts in Western NY. For these last three years our children at Nativity of Mary School, have had it as part of their curriculum as well and each year they welcome guests from ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa to come and speak about its humanitarian ministries, meet at least one of the “Lost Boys” and learn how they can make an impact on children around the world. During Fr. Ron’s last visit to the Diocese of Masaka in Uganda, in May of 2018, he visited the St. Maria Goretti school. It’s one of the poorest schools in the region with 466 students, grades one through seven. A new classroom addition was being dedicated that was funded by ROTA. Fr. Ron noticed that the large capacity of students didn’t have adequate sanitary facilities for their needs, nor did they have a reliable source of clean water available. St. Maria Goretti school was added to the list of schools that ROTA would assist through funding that comes from young people, dedicated to help other youngsters. Two fundraisers over a two year period, bought in enough funding for both a new water tank, plumbing and a new student latrine station. This past June, photos and video arrived showing the students all excited and thankful for the students of Nativity of Mary School whose efforts changed the lives of this poor school half a world away