Saturday, June 19, 2010

Best Paced Learning -- 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Some of us might recall the words of a Nat King Cole song, "Summertime and the living is easy."  We are in the season when we try to slow down.  We are in several weeks that can be a period of "slow learning."

We are fortunate during June, July and August.  We have the opportunity to put aside the "need for speed" that seems to dictate how we live nine other months of the year.  Summertime and Mother Nature try to slow down our pace in a nice, relaxing way.

Imagine some of the significant moments of past summers:  a well-prepared meal that brings so many together; those talks with a close friend that might continue until midnight (at least in our younger days!!!);the extra evening light and warmer temperatures that permitted delightful evening walks alone or with friends or family.

I would like to suggest that Mother Nature uses the summer months to reach us that not everything we encounter in our lifetime has to be rushed.  Summertime can teach us that if we take the time that seems extra, there are some realities that cannot be fully understood or learned at top speed.  Treasures we can come to know and understand demand a relaxed time to digest and learned.  An apple taken from the tree before it is ripe, will always challenge the stomach!!!

What Paul and Luke are seeking to implant in our minds and hearts are not speedily captured.  Paul's words that "In Christ there is neither Jew or Greek, slave nor free, male or female; for you all are one in Christ" are just about 2000 years old ... and we have not mastered the message yet!

The realities Paul was teaching could not be learned in one class, one summer, nor one lifetime.  How long did overcoming slavery require?  Even Abraham Lincoln's desire is not yet fully alive in our land.  Even with all the knowledge on the face of the earth combined has not yet stopped the erupting oil tapped at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

One theologian, dealing with the reality that speed and learning cannot be put together, said "Nothing really significant can be accomplished in a single lifetime, and that is why we are saved by hope."  Even today, as a Church we continue to grow ... we have not reached the view of Jesus, Paul or Luke!

In the gospel it is clear that the disciples would love today's fast-paced world.  They wanted the Jesus Kingdom ASAP!  They wanted Jesus to show the enemy that he was the conquering hero the next day.  These followers were fast-tract colleagues, not content with a "slow as you go" learning experience.

What I hope you and I can learn from these thoughts is this:  coming to understand fully all that our Church is, all that our faith is teaching us, these can be be described as slow learning.  When you think about it, such a train ride might not be all that bad!