Fr John’s Reflection – Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time – 9th February

Actions speak louder than words

We live in a world which is fed by a 24/7 news cycle which informs us very rapidly what is happening in our world. This can be both a blessing and a curse as it can move us into an attitude where we are consumers rather than participants in the world that affect our whole world. There can be a sense of passivity or worse still apathy or indifference which can descend upon us if we are exposed to too much pain. We know, however, that the reverse can be true when people responded generously around the world to the recent bushfire crisis. The donations have caused many organisations to be overwhelmed not only to act quickly but also justly in reaching out to those in most need. Yet how quickly the wheel turns and now our focus is on coronavirus and what may threaten our own health. There is a sense in which we can feel like a pinball machine where the machine lights up when the ball hits various buffers. Our attention is dissipated by events which are beyond our ability both to understand and control. This sense of powerlessness can seep deep within us and if left unacknowledged can spread like cancer through the soul. 

There is a need that often we can like our lives vicariously through the life of others. Their immediate need seems more urgent and pushes aside the important areas that we may need to attend to. When our world becomes driven by ongoing crises, we don’t find ourselves able to focus on what part we can play. We begin to transmit the pain of these crises on to others not only in our attitudes but also in how we carry ourselves through the day. Yet what is necessary is that we need to find a resonance between our felt sense and how that translates into action. This is not about saying many words but finding the Word that we are able to live by.

Our principle and foundation of what moves us into action help us to reflect each day on what is most important. It causes us to notice what brings life and hopes to others. Rather than becoming overwhelmed in trying to process how others react, we are called to notice how we can transform situations by listening to others and responding with care and compassion. During this week look at how your actions show you what is important in your life and how that speaks louder than any of the words we may say.

Fr. John Armstrong