Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO
15th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
The king of Aram went up against Jerusalem. Aram has reached Ephraim. Meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road. Let us invade Judah. The capital of Aram is Damascus. The capital of Ephraim is Samaria. Mount Zion, the Great King’s city. The ships of Tarshish. Alas for you, Chorazin, Bethsaida. What had been done in Tyre and Sidon. And as for you, Capernaum. It will not go as hard with the land of Sodom.
Today’s readings are almost a litany of place names. The purpose of throwing all these names at us is to elicit a response: what is our attitude to places? The typical modern approach is to look at many places quickly. Five years from now, one-third of the American population will have a different address. The other two-thirds will be spending their vacations visiting places such as Jerusalem and Capernaum. That way, you look at a lot of places superficially, and in the end you get to say, Been there, done that.
The monk is someone who looks at one place deeply. He develops an eye for the small variables of landscape, and discovers how much it matters to be a lover of the place. This is my 44th year of monastic life, and every year the short walk on the ridge out back becomes less of a simple thing.