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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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2019-11-21 04:33

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มี 113 ผู้มาเยือน และ ไม่มีสมาชิกออนไลน์ ออนไลน์

16th Sunday of the Year
Genesis 18:1–10; Colossians 1:24–28; Luke 10:38–42

The contractor’s mistake
We need periods of quiet prayer in our lives if we are to keep our balance and perspective in life.

One night a father came to a parent-teacher conference
in a Chicago high school. During a talk with one of his son’s teachers, the father broke down and began to cry.

After he regained his composure, the father apologized, saying, “My son no longer lives with me. But I still love
him, and I want to know how he’s doing in school.’’

The father then told the teacher how his wife and four children had left him that afternoon.

He was a building contractor and sometimes worked 16 hours a day. Naturally, he saw little of his family, and they slowly grew farther and farther apart.

Then the father said something sad. He said:

“I wanted to buy my wife and kids all those things I had dreamed of giving them. But in the process I got so involved
in working that I forgot about what they needed most: a father who was around at nightsto give them love and support.’’



That true story illustrates the point of today’s gospel reading. It is this:

We can get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. We can get so involved in living that
 we forget the purpose of living. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money can’t buy.

It’s this kind of mistake that Martha made in today’s gospel.
She got so involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus had come. He didn’t come for a free meal; he came to be with friends.

Thirty years ago, if Jesus had announced that he was coming to our parents’ home, we know what our mothers would have done.

They would have mobilized the kids days ahead of time to clean the house. They would have had the kids running down
to the grocery or the bakery to get this or that. In short, they would have been like Martha.

But our mothers would also have been like Mary. They would have made sure that all of us were neatly dressed, sitting around Jesus, paying close attention to everything he said.
Our mothers would have balanced their concern for seeing that Jesus was well fed with their concern for seeing that he was well loved.


Our mothers back then had a knack for keeping things in balance. With several children and few modern appliances,
they had to keep things in balance. But our mothers also
had our fathers, who also had a knack for keeping things in balance. Fathers back then had a beautiful ability to balance the material things  and the spiritual things of life.

Today, unfortunately,  we live in a far different world.
It’s so easy to lose our balance in today’s world.

It’s so easy to lose our perspective. It’s so easy to get our priorities mixed up. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we
are doing and why we are doing it.

During World War II, a young soldier was stationed on the island of Saipan in the South Pacific. He said that during his time off, he and his friends used to go for swims in a secluded spot, just off the steep cliffs of the island. It was a lovely place surrounded by rocks.

When they arrived, the water was so clear they could see fish ten feet below the surface. After they had swum for an hour, however, the water became so clouded with sand, churned
 up from the bottom, that they couldn’t see a foot below the surface.

But the next day, when they returned for another swim,
the sand had settled. The water was crystal clear again.


Our mind is like that water. It too can get so clouded up
from the turmoil of everyday living that it’s hard for us to
see clearly. We lose sight of everything: our perspective gets clouded; our priorities get confused; our balance gets destroyed.

What we need to do when this happens is to pause and let the murky waters of the mind become clear again. We need to do what Mary did in today’s gospel. We need to sit at the feet of Jesus in quiet prayer. We need to let him teach us anew what is important and what is not.

Today’s gospel is an invitation for us to pause daily at the feet of Jesus in prayer, just as Mary did in today’s gospel.

This raises a question. What if we have become so involved with life that we have lost the habit of prayer? What if we have forgotten how to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus? Is there anything we can do to learn how to pray once again?

Happily, there is something we can do. And we can begin doing it tonight.

We can employ a simple method of prayer that has helped many people like us rebuild the habit of prayer and recapture the art of praying. Let me close by describing it.

Each night before falling asleep, we take three minutes to do three things.


During the first minute, we pause and do a mental replay of our day. We pick out the day’s high point, something we are happy about, like getting a letter from an old friend. Then, we speak to Jesus about it very sincerely. Finally, we conclude by giving thanks to Jesus for the letter and the friend.

During the second minute, we do a second mental replay
of our day. Only this time we pick out the low point in it,
something we’re sorry about, like yelling at a parent, a
spouse, or a child. We speak to Jesus about this weakness
and ask him to forgive us and to heal us.

Finally, during the third minute, we look ahead to tomorrow, to a critical point. We think of some difficult thing we must do,
like talking to a parent, a spouse, or a child about a problem that has arisen. We speak to Jesus about it and ask his light and his strength in handling it.

This simple method of prayer has helped many people rebuild the habit of prayer and recapture the art of praying. The beautiful thing about this method of prayer is that it puts us not only back in touch with life but also back in touch with Jesus.

Lord, keep us from getting so involved in life that we forget why you gave us life.

Keep us from getting so involved in living that we forget the purpose of living.

Keep us from getting so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we forget about the things money
can’t buy.
 
Series II
16th Sunday of the Year
Genesis 18:1–10; Colossians 1:24–28; Luke 10:38–42

Balance the two
There is a Martha and a Mary in all of us, and we must keep the two in delicate balance.

Hugh Hoffman was a combat soldier during World War II.
One day he found himself in a hospital, recovering from combat fatigue.

In the course of his stay in the hospital, Hoffman was visited by several chaplains. And he couldn’t help but notice that they seemed as fatigued as did some of the soldiers in the hospital.

It was then that a seed was planted in his mind. Hoffman promised himself that if he ever got the chance, he’d do something to relieve the fatigue that many clergy suffer
in their ministry to others.

Today, Hoffman is a retired tax accountant. He owns
two beach homes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They are fully equipped with every convenience from snorkeling gear and telescopes to bikes and books.

Use of these homes is free to any clergy and their immediate families. Hoffman says that one-third of full-time clergy
have an income below the poverty line. Worse yet, they are
on call 24 hours a day.
One of the few restrictions that Hoffman makes on ministers
who use his free vacation homes is that they don’t give their phone number to parishioners. If a parishioner says a call is an emergency, a doctor must verify this fact before Hoffman will let the call go through.

Hoffman says that when it comes to Protestant ministers,
his free vacation homes have helped marriages that were
in trouble. For example, one Methodist minister said  of himself and his wife:

“We came here to rest, and we did just that. Without phones ringing and everything, we had a chance to get to know each other again.’’

Hoffman gets over 2,000 requests a year for use of his free vacation homes. Now he’s looking for a third one. He feels that he is performing a needed service, saying:

“Some ministers feel that if they take a break, they’ll miss the Second Coming [of Jesus]. God rested after six days.
[So should they.]’’

What Hoffman says of ministers is also true of all of us.
To use the imagery of today’s gospel, we’re a lot like Martha.

We are “worried and troubled over so many things.”
We can’t sit still. We can’t take time off, as Mary did, to sit quietly at the Lord’s feet.

If Jesus could speak to us today, he would say the same thing
that he said to Martha. “You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing.”

Today’s story of Martha and Mary makes an important point.

We can get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. We can get so involved in living that we forget why we are living. We can get so involved in pursuing the things money can buy

that we forget about the things that money can’t buy.

It’s this kind of mistake that Martha made in today’s gospel.
She got so involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus had come. He didn’t come for a free meal; he came to be with friends.

Apriest in Indiana has a housekeeper whose name is Martha. Each year when she hears today’s gospel,  she gets a little annoyed, saying:

“If it weren’t for Marthas like me, nothing would get done in this rectory. If I took time to sit at the Lord’s feet, the laundry would be out of sight. If I took time to sit at the Lord’s feet,
the sink would overflow with dishes. If I took time to sit at the Lord’s feet, the floor would be as dirty as sin.’’

I think that’s precisely the point that Jesus is making
in today’s gospel. Jesus is saying to people like Martha,
“You, most of all, should take time off to sit at the Lord’s feet.’’

There’s a bit of Martha and of Mary in all of us.
We are both body and soul. And we must keep both in balance.
We must give each its due.

We all need a Hugh Hoffman to come along and make us aware of our need to sit quietly at the Lord’s feet for at least
a few minutes each day.

We all need someone to come along and make us do what the Methodist minister and his wife did: to take time off to get to know each other again why we got married, why we decided to spend our lives together.

And if we say that we haven’t time to do this, then we are in trouble big trouble.

For when we are too busy to be with each other or to pray,
then we are too busy, period. And we’d better do something about it quick.

In an article entitled “Time for the Soul,’’ James Truslow Adams tells this story.

An explorer from the United States was making an expedition on foot with Indian guides and porters through the Amazon forests of South America. The first two days they made excellent time.

On the third day, however, when it came time to set off in
the morning, the explorer found his Indian guides and porters
sitting back on their haunches looking very somber and making no preparations to leave.

“What’s the matter?’’ the explorer asked a guide. “It’s a very serious problem,’’ said the guide.


“The men say they cannot move any farther until their souls
have caught up with their bodies.’’

That’s precisely what Jesus is telling usin today’s gospel.
We must keep our bodies and our souls together. We must keep the Martha and the Mary inside us in delicate balance.

Let’s close with a prayer:

Lord, keep us from getting so involved in life that we forget why you gave us life.

Keep us from getting so involved in living that we forget why we are living.

Keep us from getting so involved in pursuing the things money can buy that we lose the things money can’t buy.

 
Series III
16th Sunday of the Year
Genesis 18:1–10a, Colossians 1:24–28, Luke 10:38–42

Maintaining a balance
We do not live on bread alone.

Martha,Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things.” Luke 10:41

Henri Matisse of France was one of the most influential painters of our century. One day musician Andre Kostelanetz
went to visit him. When he arrived at the Matisse home, he was both late and exhausted.

Matisse said to him good-humoredly, “My friend,
you must find the artichokes in your life.” With that,
he took Kostelanetz outside to his garden.
When they reached a patch of artichokes, Matisse stopped and explained how every morning, after he had painted for a while, he’d come here and “watch the play of light and shade on the leaves.”

He went on to explain that he’d painted over 200 canvases.
Yet he never ceased to find new combinations of colors and patterns.

He said this daily ritual never failed to inspire him, relax him,
and send him back to his work with new vigor.
Kostelanetz concluded his account of the visit by saying:

Matisse was telling me gently that every day should have its moments of silence and contemplation.

He was saying that thoughts may wither and actions go stale

if we are not wise enough to pause now and then to restore
the mental and psychic fuel burned in the course of the day.

“The Best Advice I’ve Ever Had” in Reader’s Digest

Matisse’s advice to Kostelanetz has been uttered over and over by countless authorities.

Dr.William Menninger said:

I recommend strongly that every executive set aside a little time . . . to decide where he is going, what are his priorities,
what are his ambitions. Do you know whether you are going
in the right direction, and most of all, where you want to go?

In a similar vein,W. R. Luxton said:

I cannot overstate the importance of the habit of quiet meditation for health of body, mind, and spirit. . . .
We need to explore our lives . . . as we sit quietly and unhurriedly in God’s presence.

Years ago, an admiring fan asked pianist-composer Arthur Schnabel how he was able to handle the musical notes so beautifully.

The pianist answered, “The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes ah! that is where the art resides!”

And that is where the art of living resides, also.

That brings us to today’s Gospel. If Jesus could speak to many of us living in today’s hectic world, he would say to us
what he said to Martha:

“Martha,Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things. . . . Mary has chosen the right thing.” Luke 10:41–42

Jesus would remind us that we can get so involved in doing things that we can forget why we are doing them.

We can get so involved in making a living that we forget about making a life.

We can get so involved in acquiring the things money can buy
that we forget about the important things money can’t buy.

It is this kind of mistake that Martha made in today’s Gospel.
She got so involved in cooking a meal for Jesus that she forgot why Jesus came and what he really wanted.

He did not come for a free meal; he wanted to be with friends.
He came to pause and relax in the midst of a hectic schedule
of teaching and healing.

Recall Jesus’ reminder, “Human beings cannot live on bread alone.” Luke 4:4

And recall his answer to his disciples when they said,

“Teacher, have something to eat!” But he answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” So the disciples started asking among themselves, “Could somebody have brought him food?”


“My food,” Jesus said to them, “is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do.”
John 4:31–34

There’s a bit of Martha in all of us. We get so involved in activity that we forget to pause now and then to look at the artichokes.

We get so involved in activity that we forget that we need
“moments of silence and contemplation.”

We get so involved in activity that we forget that the art of living is often better served by observing the “pauses” than
in our handling of the notes themselves.

We can get so involved in activity that we forget to pause to “sit quietly and unhurriedly in God’s presence,” making sure that where we seem to be going is where we want to go.

We forget we are both body and soul, and need to keep them both in balance.

In his book Seeking the Face of God, William Shannon describes a retreat he made at Gethsemane in the same cottage where Thomas Merton lived. Alongside it was a
bed of tiger lilies.

Each evening they’d close their petals to the outside world for a while. Each morning, when the sun rose, they’d reopen their petals to the world.

The rhythmic pattern of the tiger lilies contains an important lesson for us. We need to find a balance in our lives between
the needs of the body and those of the spirit.

We need to find a rhythm for turning outward toward Martha’s world of activity and for turning inward
toward Mary’s world of contemplation.
Acommon objection is, “I am so busy dealing with Martha’s world of activity that I don’t have time for
Mary’s world of contemplation.”

If that is honestly the case, then you are in trouble big trouble. And you’d better do something about it quick!

That’s what Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel.