The recent hot spell we had made all of us uncomfortable. We haven’t had such heat and humidity in a few years. The weather affected a great of the country, including Alaska, where it was 90 degrees in Anchorage. It was the hottest ever there, where the average temperature at this time of year is normally 65 degrees. This may be a glimpse of global warming, as the summers get hotter and the winters colder. Those who deny global warming only have to look at the icebergs that are melting at a faster rate than normal, with the expectation that the seas will rise an average of six feet. The result is that cities along the coasts will be inundated with water, causing all sorts of devastation.
Last Saturday, July 20, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s walking on the moon. No one could have imagined this, even though President Kennedy had expressed this in his inauguration speech. It was an incredible sight to see.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching his apostles the importance of prayer in their lives. Prayer was the way that Jesus kept in touch with his Father, as they shared a very personal and intimate relationship. But Jesus took this to a higher level. It wasn’t enough to pray to God; the apostles had to express that prayer in the way they responded to the needs of others. This is how the apostles were to show that they took the message of Jesus seriously enough to help others experience his gentle presence and love. The apostles took this very seriously because they went forward to help others experience Jesus through their care and concern for the people they met.
While prayer is important to maintain our relationship with God, we must be able to express what prayer means in the way we respond to the needs of others. If we fail to do this, then the meaning of our prayer is diminished because it becomes nothing more than empty words. Jesus invites us, and challenges us, to help build the kingdom of God on earth. It is dif􏰔icult to accomplish this invitation if all we want to do is sit and pray. How, then, do the care and concern of others, the compassion and mercy of our God, become real for others if we fail to help make them a part of the way we live as followers of Jesus? We are called to be active participants in helping others experience the love of Jesus, especially in the way we respond to their needs. The Rule of St. Benedict, which most religious orders still follow, states “Ora and Labora,” “Pray and Work.” The idea is to keep it in balance, so that there is time to pray and time to build the kingdom.
HAPPY SUMMER!!!
~ FR. JOE

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