Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
1 Cor 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27
Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Me and my Cell Phone
The other day I was at a funeral. At the beginning of the liturgy an announcement was made to please turn off any cell phones. I was feeling slightly smug because I had already turned off my cell phone and felt ready to enter the celebration of this fine woman’s life.

After communion I heard this music playing and wondered, “who didn’t turn off their phone, for goodness sake!!!?” I was surprised as it sounded so close to me and then I realized it was MY new personal cell phone! After I took a deep breath I turned to those around me and apologized not so much with words as with my face and hands. I had already taken up sacred airspace. I can’t tell you just how easy this whole experience happened. I left church feeling embarrassed and chagrinned at my initial smugness.

In the readings from January 14th, both the first reading and the gospel talk about the Word being fulfilled in the presence in those who were gathered. In the first reading Ezra the priest and Nehemiah encourage the people to claim this holy day as the Lord’s. Rather than fasting they invited people strength from the food and drink made available through the Lord.

In the gospel, Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah. He proclaims and acknowledges that it is he of whom this passage speaks:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Listening to these readings, I was reminded of my cell phone experience at the funeral. All of a sudden that cell phone experience reminded me of how easy it is to be distracted when God is proclaimed and potentially miss the message being proclaimed.

I wonder how many people in the first reading and at the time of this Gospel missed what was being said? How many, for their time and culture, had their cell phones on?

In the end, that doesn’t really matter, what matters to me is how attentive am I to the Word of God as it unfolds in my midst? This week I will probably have times when I miss those God moments. But my intention will be to more attentive to God’s presence than moments being smug about my readiness for God’s appearances.