Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Pete Iorio
July 20, 2019 – 5:00PM
I like to read and one of my favorite books is The Little Prince by French author, Antoine de St. Exupery. The story has particular meaning when looked at through the lens of relationships. The Little Prince, like most humans, desires a true friend.
In the story, he encounters a fox and the fox explains that they cannot play together because the Little Prince has not tamed him. To tame is something very much forgotten by men, and it means to establish ties. The fox explained that one only understands things that one has tamed. There is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship. The fox tells the Little Prince that if he wants a friend, “tame me.”
Logically the Little Prince asked what he must do to tame the fox. You must be very patient. First, you will sit down a little distance from me in the grass. I will look at you from the corner of my eye and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me each day. The fox explained the importance of ritual – coming at the same hour so that his heart will be ready to greet the Little Prince.
Considering this story, you the faithful of Our Lady of Fatima, and I, your newly assigned pastor, are encountering each other for the first time. We really do not know each other. Maybe you have googled my name or checked me out on the internet or contacted people at my former parishes. You may “know about” me to some degree, but you do not know me – yet.
One thing about me is that I like words and languages. In Spanish, French and Italian, there are two separate words for our one word in English “to know.” Saber and Conocer in Spanish. Savoir and connaȋtre in French. Sapere and conoscere in Italian. The first word in each of the examples means “to know about” something or someone. The second word means “to know” someone personally. English does not distinguish the nuances.
Our Gospel today highlights the insight of the fox from the Little Prince. Two sisters, Martha and Mary, had a friendly relationship with Jesus. Actually, the sisters along with their brother Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, became some of his closest friends.
Mary sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to the him speak. I suggest that the Lord is “taming” her according to the definition of the fox in the Little Prince. He is inviting her into a deeper relationship – an intimacy of human life and love.
Martha complains and Jesus indicates that she too can follow her sister’s example. Yes, the details of hospitality are important AND they serve the greater good which is to establish ties… to be in intimate relationship with God and with one another.
This is my desire as your new pastor – to establish loving Christian relationships with you. What does this require?
First, a willingness to be open to the stranger and to not be afraid of those persons and ideas which are different. Next, there must be a desire to give of yourself as well as to receive. As the fox indicated, the virtue of patience, of not being quick to judge or to demand results is necessary. Relationships take time and investment. You married couples know this very well. It is the same in a parish community. As we, the parish family of Our Lady of Fatima begin this new relationship of me as your pastor and Fr. Andres Cano as your associate pastor along with you the faithful who have been here for varying lengths of time, let us choose the better part that Jesus invites us to.
Let us “tame” each other so that all will see that we are Christians by our true and noticeable love for one another.