16th Sunday of the Year – Listening to Jesus

Water lilies

Study:  Where do you find stillness in your life?  Where is a calm spot where you can slow down and listen?

Pray:  Consider making a commitment to praying in a peaceful place for a few days.   How does your prayer change when you can be still and listen to Christ?

Serve:  Can your service help another find peace and stillness?  Can you help others in such a way that they have an opportunity to listen to the Lord?

16th Sunday Readings

One of the great gifts of summertime is the potential for quiet moments in nature:

* Watching a campfire
* Time in the garden
* The beauty of a sunrise or sunset
* The stillness of the water
* The quiet before (or after) a storm

Moments like these are filled with chances to listen – to our hearts, our bodies, our family and friends, and the world around us.  In these quiet moments we slow down to experience the beauty and truth that God showers upon us.

What’s important to note is that these times are not filled with activity, but stillness.  It is in these moments when we are quiet that we actually listen and see God at work in our life.  These insights happen when we stop and pay attention to the wonder around us.

This is what we find in the Gospel today.  Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to his words with complete and utter concentration.  When Martha (who was preparing the food and getting the house ready to welcome the Lord) complained that Mary was not helping, Jesus rebukes her – not because the work was unimportant, but because in life there is also a time and place to listen!

The need to listen is crucial, not only in life but in our life of faith.  We know that we cannot work around the clock; we need time to rest and renew our hearts.  We know that we cannot always be in constant motion (in action or in speech); indeed, there are times when we need to draw strength from the wisdom and beauty of others.

We find these moments in practical ways that are both accessible and powerful:

* Daily prayer (alone or with others)
* Reading the Scriptures
* Mass
* Quiet moments (inside or outside)
* Experiencing nature (see above!)

These are moments when we, like Mary, slow down and allow the Lord to teach and strengthen us.  Today we can pause and allow the Lord to love us; right now we have the chance to listen – hearing the faith, hope, and love we share as we sit at the feet of Jesus.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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