Cart

Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop

Let yourself be interrupted by God

A Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Genesis 18:1-10a Colossians 1:24-28 Luke 10:38-42

To believe in God, once you have passed from handed-on truth into personal experience, is to marvel at two astounding realities: our existence and our freedom. Each of them, in being so extraordinary, can become like the horizon, something both obvious and overlooked.

Belief begins in being astounded by consciousness alone. You are part of the world, yet with every thought you think you rise above it. You are not your own origin, and so you perceive your very self to be a gift, something that did not need to be. A gift implies a giver. So you raise your eyes and look about.

Because God made us free, it is possible to live in this world without acknowledging God. God withdraws from the world so that we can be ourselves within it. This is true whether you believe in God or not. God allows us, both as saint and as sinner, to be ourselves. But that does not mean that God leaves any of us hanging or adrift in the world.

You can tell yourself that you believe in God, but if this has no impact upon your life, what does it really mean?

St. Bonaventure put it well when he wrote: “What mother can forget her infant so as not to feel sorry for the child of her womb? Therefore those wishing to progress to the heavenly homeland are not left forsaken on the journey for lack of food.” God intends to nourish us with the only food that can satisfy the soul, God’s own self.

You can tell yourself that you believe in God, but if this has no impact upon your life, what does it really mean? Like Abraham, Martha and Mary, God enters our lives, allows us to encounter him. God knocks; the question is whether we hear.

That is where Lilith Agnes enters. I was not looking for a second chihuahua. I could not love my first, Coco Chanel, any more than I do, but the hospice nurse, who was helping Lilly to find a new home, said, “Try it for the weekend.” Watch out for nurses. They are cunning.

Coco Chanel and Lilly
Coco Chanel and Lilly

Coco barks at everyone except her closest friends. When couples come for pre-marital counseling, I tell them to ignore her. She is a former navy seal, still just doing her job. Within a minute, Coco stops barking and assumes an attentive position on the floor, eager to hear, yet again, the nuptial wisdom I am about to impart.

Lilly enters later, without a sound. She jumps into the lap of whatever young woman is there and falls asleep. She was uninterested the first time she heard the lecture. But that is who Lilly is. I could be typing this very homily when I hear her feet racing toward me. She appears at my side, wanting to be up on my lap. And Lilly will not relent until some real love has been exchanged.

We speak of ourselves being made in the image of God, but dogs might do the same, and with more prerogative! Who is as loving and attentive as a dog? Who shows more enthusiasm at the sight of your face? Maybe this is what St. Thomas Aquinas meant when he talked about the abundant diversity of God’s creation. It takes a cosmos to mirror God.

So often what we consider to be interruptions can become invitations. We only need to ask, “What is it that you are saying, dear Lord?”

The issue, of course, is allowing ourselves to be interrupted, letting God break in and pour out some love. So often what we consider to be interruptions can become invitations. We only need to ask, “What is it that you are saying, dear Lord?”

Here are some examples: Why do Walmarts have 30 check-out lanes and only three cashiers? Why must we all wait in line? “What is it that you are saying, dear Lord? What would you make of this moment?”

Why do you feel obligated to play, just a bit longer, with your child? And why are you compelled to attend every sporting event your child ever has? Demanding, yes, but a child is always a revelation of God’s love. “What is it that you are saying, dear Lord? Who is this person you have brought into my life, and who are you?”

Why is the world full of flowers and birds, fixed and flying wonders? Even though it happens daily, why should the rising and the setting of the sun never be ignored? How can you look at the ocean and not see your own life for what it is? “What is it that you are saying, dear Lord? What is my place in this world you made?”

The Gospel says that our treasure, the ancient lover of our souls, will come to us. We only need to receive him, even when he comes as an interruption.

St. Paul spoke of a “mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones” (Col 1:26). The mystery has always been there. The invitation to listen to it speak to us came with Christ.

A friend once told me that there is nothing that a dog wants more than another dog. I thought that Lilly and Coco would happily play together. They have bonded, but Lilly, who is half Coco’s size, came from a home with three large dogs. Play is a new concept for her. So now I have two dogs, each asking for my attention. “What is that you are saying, dear Lord? Why should neither the look nor the lick of the dog ever be refused?”

The difference between an interruption and an invitation comes down to this: If we believe that the world and our consciousness are too wonderful, too awesome, not to be gifts, then does it not make sense that the giver would seek us out, ask for our attention, even in moments in which that is so hard to give? You must knock loudly for the hard of hearing. St. Bonaventure urged us to accept the interruption and let the Lord in, “But a great effort ought to be made where the treasure is located, because there also the soul is located.”

We think of treasure as demanding a great dig, lots of effort. The Gospel says that our treasure, the ancient lover of our souls, will come to us. We only need to receive him, even when he comes as an interruption.

There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her (Lk 10:32).

Written by

Cart

Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop