Attuning ourselves to the needs of others

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I spent three months in Panama City, Panama, trying to learn Spanish. There are parts of the city that cater to tourists, where streets and sidewalks are clean and trash is swept up daily by city workers. Then there are the places where most average Panamenians live.

If there’s a sidewalk, you’ll need to watch out for the gaping holes into the sewage system below and the mounds of rotting trash that may or may not be picked up that week. The first time I walked through one of these non-tourist neighborhoods, I really was shocked at how much filth the locals put up with. I kept wondering why no one did anything about it. Well, after three months of daily walking those neighborhoods, the trash didn’t bother me as much. I’m guessing that if I had been there longer, I wouldn’t even notice it.

Like it did for the dishonest judge, prayer keeps us bothered and attuned to the needs of others that we might never become weary of asking the Spirit to guide us in alleviating their suffering. Click To Tweet

When acts of injustice, evil, or human suffering become so pervasive in our lives, we run the risk of becoming deadened to things that used to shock us. I think of the ever-increasing reports of gun violence or natural disasters.

Prayer allows us to plead for God’s mercy. But like it did for the dishonest judge, prayer also keeps us bothered and attuned to the needs of others that we might never become weary of asking the Spirit to guide us in alleviating their suffering.

This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

Image credit: Israa Ali, Unsplash, CC0.

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