Life in the Interruptions
I love Google Calendar. I have been using it for a while now and it really helps me to organize my life and that is no small feat. Not only that but with my co-workers plotting out their daily schedule with the program and sharing it with me I have a real good sense of what is going on in my parish and that makes me feel like things are under control.
Unfortunately the one feature that Google Calendar does not have and which is, in my honest opinion, a glaring oversight, is a way for me to schedule in life’s little interruptions. It never seems to fail that as I begin my day, with a careful strategy of what needs to get done, the phone will ring or the doorbell will chime and my nice, neatly planned day is placed in pause mode as I attend to whatever is coming my way.
This used to frustrate me, and at times it still does, but I have come to learn that when it comes to ministry the real work is in the interruptions.
In the Gospel reading today we find Jesus hard at work. He is preparing to give a wonderful talk to the many friends and well-wishers that have gathered at his house and he is no doubt anticipating that this hometown crowd will revel in what he has to say and it will all end with a nice lunch on the patio. At least that’s the plan.
No sooner does he begin his presentation when something quite unexpected happens. Four strong men, who were unable to access the front door due to the crowds, have hauled their disabled friend to the roof of the house. They proceed to make a new skylight in order to present their companion to Jesus for healing. This process, though not described in great detail in the Gospel, was a serious undertaking. It would involve excavating, clawing and smashing their way through several layers of tile, earth and timber in order to create an access large enough to lower a man. During this procedure a rain of dust and debris would have been pouring down upon those gathered inside the house including Jesus. When all is said and done Jesus looks at the man on the blanket which has been lowered before him and without hesitation welcomes him with the gift of absolution. “Your sins are forgiven”
Jesus had that rare ability to see the importance of each moment. He knew that some things should not be passed over just to keep to a schedule. He knew that good ministry was not always about being in control of the situation.
Jesus’ flexibility cost him that day. This unscheduled healing put him on a watch list and did not win him any points with those religious leaders who were suspicious of his motives. But the gift of healing which he shared not just with the paralyzed man but with those who had taken such steps to bring their friend to Jesus was far more important. Jesus knew that the interruptions that come with life do not disrupt the works of God but rather give new opportunity to proclaim them.