Pastor's Desk: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 17th July 2010 in Pastor's Desk

This week’s article comes from Fr. Tom Cahill, writing for Intercom magazine.

Clutter

Laptops are turning lecture halls into private cinemas and even online casinos. Once considered valuable aids to learning, they’re no longer the apple of a teacher’s eye. An increasing number of lecturers just don’t want them in the classroom anymore. The reason? Students use them less for learning and more for entertaining. Themselves, that is. Not only are those who use them distracted, but so too are those nearby them. Not surprising when laptop use in class becomes networking in Facebook, watching movies, waging World War III virtually and playing poker actually, online. Instead of focusing on teacher talking, students focus on their laptop calling. So, the teacher strikes back, banning them from the classroom. This is a clear example of how something good: the amazing laptop, can get in the way of something better: the desired education.

Today’s Gospel reading (Luke 10:38-42) gives another example of the same thing. Jesus visits Martha and Mary. The good here – Martha’s attention to guests – gets in the way of something better: her attention to God’s word. Mary, on the other hand, just sits absorbed by what Jesus is saying. She’s free of clutter in her life and so can focus on what’s important. Activity is fine, but it shouldn’t push contemplation from our lives.

A Buddhist monk once told Thomas Merton, a famous American Trappist, that you can’t contemplate properly until you can close doors quietly. Closing doors quietly on clutter – mental, emotional, and social – is what today’s Gospel is about. You may lap that up, but you won’t top it!

Fr. Tom Cahill SVD, Divine Word Missionaries

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