The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 7th July, 2013

I don’t know if you have ever noticed but, when you go to travel anywhere there are lots of preparations before the journey begins.  There are also, often, many plans for what we will do when we arrive.  Much less importance is given to the in-between bit; the actual travelling bit.  Despite the evident usefulness, most people don’t even pay much attention to the safety demonstration done by the cabin crew.  It seems that we put a lot of thought into what we put in our bag; we also put a lot of thought into what we will do when we eventually take our things out of our bag; but we regard the actual time travelling as a sort of non-time.
This illustrates something very interesting. Very often we find it difficult to live in the moment in which we find ourselves.  Some people live in the past and revisit in their minds events that they can no longer influence; others spend their time thinking of the future and dreaming or wishing how things might, or even could, be.  
Both of these stances have their attraction but, if they replace the ability to focus on the present they can be destructive of our functioning, our relationships, and our mental health.  Mindfulness, the ability to concentrate on living in the moment, is an often-recommended practice for people who experience this difficulty. Mindfulness, a practice that has its roots in Buddhism, is about being here, now and focusing on the here and now.
The advice that Jesus gives to his disciples in the gospel passage we have just heard is not dissimilar.  He sends them out – they cannot stay where they are and as they have been.  Their focus cannot be on the past. They cannot cling on to Jesus and resist change – he must return to the Father.  Nor can they try to live in the peace and joy of the already-realised Kingdom.  They are to preach the message of the Lord as they go.
This is not about recalling the past – a dry account of what happened in the past.  The important thing is the living faith of the disciples themselves.  This is not about future plans – a description of a hope that has yet to be realised. The Kingdom is to be lived now, in the conditions in which we find ourselves – not by waiting until we achieve a level of perfection.
The job of the disciples is to preach as they go.  The lives of the disciples are to be their preaching.  It is by the way that they go about their daily lives that the word of God will be preached.
Our job, if you like, is to be signs of God’s life and God’s love among our brothers and sisters as we live our daily lives.  We are those signs by our way of living, no matter how imperfect we might regard that living to be.
We are the image of God as we are; not as we would rather be.
Today’s gospel passage challenges us to wake up to the fact that we are already signs of God’s life.  
What type of sign are we? 
Are we a sign that is clear and unambiguous?  
Are we even a sign that we ourselves would choose to follow?

Article posted on 2nd of July 2013

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