This post was conceived first thing Sunday but I haven't had a chance to enter it, which is telling . . .
For me it's really hard to disconnect from the vibe of the world. My nature is to want to know what's going on, who's where, what's happening, what's new. Thus I was struck to find last Wednesday, three days before our departure for our mission to Nicaragua, that the appointed daily office Gospel reading for the day was one that burned itself into my consciousness a few years ago, part of Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower as recounted in Mark: "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."
These words echo the theme for the first day of the children's Bible study lessons from last year's mission trip: "escuchamos," or "we listen" [for God's call]. I woke up Sunday morning thinking about these twin messages, and about my tendency to get caught up in the press of duty, keeping "au courant," keeping myself satisfied in the material world. How does one listen for God's call, how does one engaged in the world not let that call be obscured like stars viewed from the glow of city lights? I committed to myself to abstain from reading the daily papers and my favorite blogs online. While this may not sound like much, it eliminates a major source of distraction from what is in front of me. So far I've kept this commitment (it's Tuesday night).
I also read the daily office Gospel selection for the day. It was the story of the crippled man by the healing pool at Bethesda, to whom Jesus posed the following question: "Wilt thou be made whole?" It struck me for the first time that this question puts the onus on the crippled man, and by extension, us. Do I really want to be made whole? Am I willing to let God into my life? Can I give up, as a favorite hymn says, "all the vain things that charm me most?" The answer at this point surely is "only in part" but I hope to make some progress this week.