15th Sunday (B)
11th July 2021
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“Sure, you know yourself”
There is an endearing advertisement running these days in which a son calls home and his father answers the phone. He is clearly busy and on being asked “Dad how are you?” Sure, you know yourself! is the reply. He is told mother is out walking with a speedometer or was it a pedometer.
He is a kindly man and while he appreciates his sons concern, he is not one to indulge in self pity or concern. His attitude and approach to life is get on with it – deal with what you have to deal with. It is an admirable quality to have but I am sure it is the fruit of the experience of living.
Attitude changes everything – it is the difference between seeing life as the glass being half full or half empty. Attitude reflects the deep recesses of our minds and it is not always subject to our control. So, it is at this level of our life experience that our faith in God, in the Lord Jesus can be hugely important. When reflecting on this before Christmas, I entitled the reflection as “Living Faith in Fragile Times”. It is not an accidental occurrence that there is so much talk about mental health and wellbeing as this time. It is precisely because people are experiencing life as uncertain and fragile. This situation evokes the natural response of fear and anxiety.
In the ad I mentioned, you will notice the son was not shy in asking again “But how are you!” My friends, in the Gospel piece from St. Mark, Jesus had got to the point where he “began to send them out in pairs”. His instruction was simple and stark “Take nothing with you”. It is not that they were to neglect themselves rather they were to cultivate a healthy detachment from the desire to possess and secure things. This is difficult when so much is at our fingertips.
For an older generation like the man in the ad – that is probably how he grew up. For a new generation accustomed to great expectations and aspirations it is much harder to develop a habit of healthy detachment that enables us to separate the necessary and essential from the superficial and surplus.
In every cloud there is a silver lining. This current experience can be a real opportunity to ask ourselves “How are you?” not in a “by the way sense” but at the deeper level – “How are you with life is the point” this question is valid for young and old alike because the world has changed in a way and how much we do not know fully.
It is good and worthwhile for us to put words on our reactions to this change and how we are coping with it. This is more than whether we have indoor or outdoor dining or whether we can travel abroad.
Our life in Christ, our spiritual life, anchors us in life. A general nod in the direction of Christian values is not enough. It is a relationship that needs to be nurtured by reflection and prayer, so that it naturally and intuitively informs our approach to life.
May the Lord enlighten the eyes of our mind
To see the hope His call holds for us.
And – How are you?
Sure, you know yourself!