12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21st June
In reading through the newspapers over the last few months there has been much which has sought to elicit the opinions of people. Not least these have focussed on the pandemic and social unrest in the United States. There has been a tendency to shine the light on what others consider urgent without discovering its importance. We are told what to think or at least align ourselves whichever side seems to be most sympathetic to our world view. This can often produce more heat than light as the friction created by debates doesn’t seek to resolve the issues but actually inflame them. In a time of isolation, we also find ourselves polarised by these opinions rather than being enlightened to consider how we live in times of uncertainty.
Yet we are not called to retreat into caves and become hermits. We are affected by events in the world and the way we live matters. There is a call to acknowledge how the events that surround us do have an impact on our lives. However, it also calls us to reflect on what environment we create in response to these events. What is it that we consider essential and what is periphery? We don’t want to become lost in viewpoints that we do not hold or prejudices which seek to divide us. This calls us to be people who do consider what history has to tell us and how our thinking is not just based on a knee jerk response. We are called to be people who are open to what brings life to ourselves and to others. In the midst of this reflection, we can decide what is the next obvious step for our good and the good of others.
The truth we are called to proclaim is not just something we can take down from the shelf and parrot to one another. It calls for an active engagement which is based on our own prayer, study and action. The way we build the world is founded on small acts done with great love. It calls us to be people who are present to the Living Word in our daily life. Neither do we isolate ourselves from the terrors that seem to oppress but we do not seek to be overwhelmed by them. We are called to be people who seek that calmness and peace in the midst of the storm which besets us. This is not just undertaken through will power but a surrender of our lives to God which enables us to engage with the world as we are not as we think we should be. It allows us to tell our truth to the world.
Fr. John Armstrong