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Reflection on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on August 29, 2021, by Maria Visse SL

Three phrases stand out in today’s readings:

  1. From the Old Testament: “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call on him.”
  2. The second reading from the Letter of St. James encourages us to”humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.” 
  3.  Mark remembers one of the encounters between the Pharisees and some scribes: “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person.”

So why did these three phrases get my attention? I felt they spoke of a presence. “Presence” is a person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen.  For me it is what is always at the heart of the wisdom that has been shared in Jewish/Christian writing, in the reflections of the mystics, morality plays, in poetry and music down through the ages. The presence of an interior voice, an unseen guide.

It is the Creator, so close, so with us whenever we call out for clarity, for the strength to be consistent with our convictions. 

 It is “the word that has been planted in you.” I love that phrase. A living word that has the potential to grow and flourish and produce.  “Humbly welcome the word.” Humbly, gratefully receive and share what is within you.  Leaving a presence.

“Hear me, all of you, and understand.  Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person.” Presence. There is something within that is wholesome, good, the spirit of our Creator.  It’s there, but … there are weak points. And I think that is the purpose of meditation, prayer and a supportive community.

Let’s close our eyes for a moment.  Feel the presence.  We are one heart, one soul, one mind. 


Maria Visse SL

Maria, a member of the Sisters of Loretto since 1955, served as the Loretto Motherhouse Service Coordinator for many years. Among her many other works, she served as a labor and delivery nurse. In 2017, she and Kay Carlew SL spent a month in Ghana visiting with and observing the work of the Daughters of the Most Blessed Trinity, one of Loretto’s sister communities. A gifted singer and musician, Maria often may be found leading the congregation in song.