Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday in the 5th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
The God who Renovates

Readings: Genesis 1:1-19; Psalms 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c; Mark 6:53-56

For the past few weeks contractors have been renovating the ladies’ bathroom on the third floor of our Spirituality Centre. It was starting to look too tired – paint peeling off the walls, tiles chipped and discoloured with age and fungus… You get the picture. The workmen spent the first week knocking everything down. When they were done, the ceiling had been stripped and so had all the wall-tiles, as well as the old mosaic flooring. Even the partitions to the cubicles had been demolished. At the end of the first week it looked much like how one might imagine the formless void of our first reading today. But after another week or so, things are improving. The new flooring and tiles are up. And even though there’s still no ceiling, you look at the work that’s already been done, and you can begin to imagine how God might have felt as he looked at his own handiwork and pronounced it good.

It’s a useful image to have before us even as we hurl ourselves into another work-week. For Monday though it may be, isn’t it more than likely that many of us are already feeling tired? We only have to board a bus or hop onto a train to realize what a nation of tired people we are, if we haven’t already fallen asleep ourselves. And our fatigue is not just physical. Ours is also often a tiredness of the heart. We lose sight of why we do the things we do. The flames of our passion for life subside to a mere flicker, just as our dreams for a fulfilling life may grow dim – gradually all but quenched by the stresses and strains of a hectic and punishing routine. The ladies’ bathroom comes to mind, even as we are reminded again of that formless void of the first reading. We too need to be renovated…

And like the people of today’s gospel, we look to Christ. Like them, we seek to recognize in him the divine renovator. Like those who found wholeness and healing simply by touching the fringe of his cloak, we who might be feeling too tired even to lift our minds and hearts to Christ in prayer, still hope to find in him the energy that we need to face the struggles of life. In Christ we seek the renovation we need in order once again to see and appreciate the goodness that our Creator has imprinted into our lives and our world.

How might we touch the fringe of his cloak today?

1 comment:

  1. Just two comments to Fr Chris' reflection on renovations:

    (i) I positively, absolutely hate renovations. I mean, the process (and pain) of renovation; the dust, debris, renovation materials strewn all over the place. But when I think of the spanking new space after all this is done, all the inconvenience and frustration pale in comparison. So it is when God "renovates" us.

    (ii) The tiredness of heart that Fr Chris referred to is very real in our society. Cynicism and sometimes even despair set in. While I do get tired physically and mentally, I pray to God that I will never tire of life or of other people. Jesus may have a hint as to why we tire of heart so easily in today's Gospel reading: "These people worship God with lip service". And in the encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus says: "The time will come when you will not worship God on this mountain, but in spirit and in truth".

    May the Holy Spirit teach and motivate us to worship the Triune God more and more in spirit and in truth so we do not tire of heart easily.