31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

SLOW DOWN AND SEE

By Lucinda M. Vardey

We are reminded in today’s scriptures of the beauty and love of God that is present in all creation. I have the privilege of living in the countryside for about one-third of the year and it has allowed me to develop deeper awareness of divine presence in all things and to learn from natural life. Birdsong invites the soul to be lifted into singing hymns of ceaseless praise and thanksgiving, come rain or shine. Animals teach gentleness of heart and the freedom to live in the moment without thoughts (or plans) for the morrow. Flowers invite humility and are great teachers of the gifts of stillness and silence.

American Cistercian Thomas Merton referred to wildflowers as “little saints.” Fish teach us to abandon ourselves into the flow of the waters of life, the current that guides us to surrendering all to God’s will. And then there are the great trees, roots hidden in the goodness of God, who stand, like majestic sentinels and generous friends. Have our lives become too busy to notice God’s handiwork around us, to give thanks, to see how scripture lives in each living being? Are we able to share in the simple blessings available to us in the happenings of nature each day? What a friend that sycamore became for Zacchaeus! Without its support, Jericho’s chief tax collector would have missed that precious encounter with Jesus. Being able to see Jesus, Jesus saw him, and not only saw him but went to stay in his house.

From that time he changed his view of things, he cleared up his corrupt life and received salvation. We know neither the time or place when Jesus may call us, but by practising awareness of natural beauty can at least help us to slow down and see differently.

Sunday’s Readings:

Wisdom 11:22-12:2 2

Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

Luke 19:1-10