Help Us to See

BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time | July 22, 2018

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

So my life is a tad busy.

Now, I should not be surprised by this fact when I have chosen to work at two schools and a parish.

But let me tell you, there are days when it all just feels like a lot.

It is as if I am in an air-traffic control tower as I am consulting with several different calendars at any given moment trying to figure out where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing.

I am routinely watching the clock knowing that I have three different appointments that I have squeezed into a free afternoon.

And of course, there is that never-ending to-do-list in which for every item I check off, 10 more take its place.

And somehow, I don’t think I’m alone in having a stress-filled life.

So when I first heard the Gospel for this weekend, it was as if Jesus was speaking directly to each of us.

For who wouldn’t love that invitation to get away.

From the work.

From the crowds

From the expectations

From the stress.

In fact, I could have really used that invitation last week, as I was working as the co-director of our middle school summer program.

10 days with 30 middle school boys overnight on a college campus.

Ohh yes, I could have used that quiet place, away from it all.

But the irony was, every time I tried to find those quiet moments, a student always seemed to appear.

Fr. Brian, do you want to play dodgeball?

Fr. Brian, can we talk?

Fr. Brian, I’m homesick.

Fr. Brian, I’m in trouble. I was told I need to talk to you.

Fr. Brian, can we read together?

Fr. Brian, were you sleeping?

Now, I must admit. I did not always handle these interruptions well. I may have occasionally thought in my head . . . why me? Can’t someone else handle this? Don’t they all see everything I have to do? Can’t they tell that I’m busy.

But then I finished the Gospel for this weekend and I realized that I was missing the whole point.

Jesus did not sail across the sea to escape people. He didn’t leave so that he could knock out some of his other projects by the deadline.

He sailed for a different perspective. On his work. On his mission. On his people, the sheep of his flock.

And in turn, he is inviting us to do the same.

To see the individual in front of us with a different perspective. To see each person as a child of God. Made in God’s image. A temple of the Holy Spirit.

And they have been drawn to us for a reason. They are seeking the Christ alive within us.

And with that new perspective, everything else stops as we reverence the holy in our midst.

My friends, each of us has tremendously busy lives.

We have schedules we are trying to balance, obligations at work and school, family commitments, goals we are striving to complete, and of course the endless errands that are part of being an adult.

But in the midst of all the busyness, we can lose the perspective that Christ brings. We can forget what is truly important

For we can forget that the person in front of us is our opportunity to encounter the divine.

In our spouse as you look at each other when the baby wakes up for the 5th time that night.

And in your child as they show you their painting and demand it go on the fridge.

In your co-worker as they drop by uninvited into your cubicle to discuss their weekend and in your neighbor as they catch you with an armful of groceries.

In the homeless man who approaches your car window, the migrant laborer sitting outside of Home Depot and in the friend who calls when you are trying to binge watch Netflix.

And yes, in a student who simply needs a hug and the reassurance that you’re not going anywhere in that moment.

My friends, our lives are busy and stressful. And yes, we all need time and space to recharge, reflect and renew. But in the busyness and in our quest for balance, let us not miss our God who dwells among us. Dwelling in each person we encounter.

Open our eyes Lord. Help us to see your face.

May God be Praised.

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