September 25, 2016 – Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Have you ever felt as if your life is in a holding pattern? Like you’re just waiting for the next chapter to begin and that you’re just “putting in your time?” Maybe your time in school can feel like that – just waiting to get done so your life can really begin.

I’ve had a few experiences like that. Times when I felt bored. Times when life was complacent. Times when I felt like I was waiting on someone else. Times when I reached to my phone to fill the boredom. The readings today speak to those times.

The first reading proclaims “Woe to the complacent in Zion!” We should not rest on our accomplishments. Maybe you were a good student last year. That doesn’t mean that this year will come easy to you. Maybe you made the varsity team last year. That doesn’t mean you can coast this year. This is a new school year and God wants to do something new in your life. Christians are called to always “compete well for the faith.” It is true in life and it is true for the school year. The prophet Amos criticizes those who are sleepwalking through life.

There are many among us living for things that pass away. Living for the latest fashion trend. Living for Snapchat or Pokemon. Longing for more likes and clicks, more friends and more prestige. Although there is nothing bad about those things, they should never take the place of a greater good. God calls us to more. God calls us to see and be moved by injustice!

The response psalm speaks to this injustice. It gives hope to the lowly. God has always aligned Himself with the poor, the migrant, the widow, the exiled. A constant theme in the prophetic books of the Old Testament is justice and caring for those whom society has left in the margins. We are called to love in solidarity with the social outcasts. And this is more than merely a suggestion, it is a biblical mandate and must permeate our lives in a public way. People should be able to easily identify us as Christians by the way that we love.

St. Paul’s letter to Timothy exhorts us to pursue righteousness. My father used to always tell me “do good things.” This desire for goodness, for righteousness, is written onto our hearts. It is a command that we must follow. I love the link between patience and righteousness. It can be easy to fill up all of extra time with games and posts and pictures and sharing, but often times those simple moments can be used for something else.

And this is my challenge to you this week: look for the space between the notes…the space for prayer. For the next week try to not pull out your phone at every stop light, in every line, before bed at night. Try to preserve those times. Use them to grow in patience. Smile at someone instead of staring at your phone. Offer a prayer instead of posting a prayer request. Allow yourself to be present during those moments and see if you are a more peace-filled person for it.

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