Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Damnable "ism" Saturday, 2--6-2010

As if you don't have such scene outside your kitchen window, I offer this photo just taken outside my host's kitchen. Sitting there with a cup of tea and thinking about today's message was, I think, just what Jesus was teaching his disciples.

The words from Mark's gospel well serve 21st century adults. Jesus invited the disciples who had been "on the road" preaching the message he had given them. He wished to share a report of their endeavors with himself and the others. He knew that the mission was not and never would be easy. The work of a genuine vocation is, when earnestly fulfilled, a drain upon both body and spirit. For all who add the challenges brought about by one's vocation to the expectations put upon the followers of Jesus to live out baptism and confirmation pledges, life is not a pleasant stroll down "easy street."

[[Maybe Tai Chan returned to China too soon!!! He would have loved the almost two feet of fresh snow!! A good reflective distraction, eh?]]

Today, for a variety of reasons, workaholism is alive and well, assured of overtime employment! Jesus understood what busy psychologists tell their steady customers who find life so challenging. Excessive work is the chain that pulls the plug on our physical and psychological energies. Did you ever remain sitting in a bath tub after releasing the plug? Did you focus on the water, especially the last gallon that spins around the drain, pulling the remaining water down the drain? The next you do that think this thought: all the excessive work (workaholism) has done to me what I see near my feet. All my drivenness has sucked out of me all my energy, the creative ability that God entrusted to me, my physical and mental resources!

For this very reason Jesus calls his disciples aside: "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile." Ask any priest, nun or brother who is seriously involved in active pastoral ministry what they would sacrifice to be given the same Jesus invitation. If anyone of them would respond, "I don't have the time!", you have encountered an unfortunate soul! That person has put the ministry before the minister! That person needs to read the 34th chapter of Ezekiel. It is a worthwhile message for any workaholic!

Each of us, whether "men or women of the cloth," whether parents of children, whether the manager or owner of a business, whether what we might call a "climber," whether in anyone of the myriad of social ministries reaching out to or teaching others have the same need as the priest, nun or brother mentioned above. We, all of us, need to find quiet time to listen to the calming voice of the Holy Spirit. It is in these moments of quiet that a voice will be heard.

"I will create a new heart in you, and breath into you a new spirit."