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A quick quiz…

  • How many times are you interrupted in the middle of your plans?
  • Do you think of interruptions as annoyances … or opportunities encounter a body of Christ?

I ask these questions because Fr. Dennis Holtschneider sent me a copy of “Interruption Stories” his keynote presentation to the Society of St. Vincent DePaul last weekend. Right on the money! It is another one of his inspiring and challenging presentations that will be read and prayed over by many.

I am sure the Society will publish it in its entirety on their website. Here I offer just a relatively short section of this gem.

Do you remember the time the official came and said “Please come to my house, my daughter is dying.”  Others came and said “Don’t bother the Rabbi, your daughter died,” but Jesus went anyway, took her hand, brought her to life?  This was a panicked parent pleading to Jesus, “Please stop what you’re doing.  Please follow me home.”  …

That’s when I started seeing things in the Gospels I hadn’t really noticed before.   

There are so many more stories of Jesus getting interrupted in the Gospels.

  • When he’s praying in the Synagogue
  • When he’s teaching in the synagogue
  • When he’s teaching in towns
  • When he’s trying to get away in a boat to the other side, and they follow him and meet him there when he arrives. 
  • When children and brought and the disciples try to push the children away.  The text says Jesus “rebuked” them.  “Let the children come to me.”
  • In the evening: “When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.  The whole town was gathered at the door.  He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons…”
  • In the early morning: “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 
  • On the sabbath:  Remember the man at the pool who was lame and couldn’t get to the healing waters?  Everyone was so mad Jesus did that on the Sabbath.
  • When he’s just walking the road: and blind Bartimaeus calls his name and says “I want to see.”
  • At times, the crowds even try to prevent him from leaving: “At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them.  But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 
  • Even at parties:  Remember that wedding at Cana?  That was his mother doing the interrupting, of course, but it was still a young couple embarrassed by running out of wine.  Jesus saved them the embarrassment. 

Personal reflections

I am privileged to live with some confreres who really live the model of the “Jesus of (and in) the Interruptions”.

With each passing year, I become more conscious that the “Mystical Body of Christ” is not just an abstraction of the church. I am growing more aware of the real “presence of Christ” in my interruptions. I am beginning to “see” what I never saw before in my interruptions. As I grow in awareness, I see how much more is asked of me.

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

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