Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.” Some time ago, a commercial invited us to consider and ponder the question, “What’s in your wallet?” The response may differ and depend on your working status or the means available to you at this moment. Your response may be perhaps a couple of dollars, some credit/debit cards or just a lot of stuff or not much this week until payday. Whatever the answer, it causes us to stop and think. It causes us to ponder and consider what’s inside our wallet. What if that question were to redirect you and ask you to go deeper than your wallet to ponder, “What’s in your heart?” or “What’s on your mind? How might you stop, pause, reflect and respond similarly or differently? Often, what is in our heart or what is on our mind can project itself outward and inward to another person. It could also project onto a given situation and even onto our relationship with God. We tend to respond from the knowledge we have gained from others or from personal experiences or even from personal judgements and preferences. We tend to project outward into a scene or inward to another’s heart and mind what is in our own heart or on our mind. Projection can be a defense mechanism because of someone being to inquisitive into our private life or getting a little to close to a past hurt or wound. We project to move the inquisitor to consider a different question or to get them to move in a different direction. We may also project to move the focus and attention off of us and onto another, simply by asking a different question to ponder, consider or deflect. Projecting is a way to distract another person from looking too closely at what we have in our heart or from seeing too clearly what is truly on our mind. Projecting can be good if we are projecting joy, love, mercy, kindness. These are helpful and beneficial to all. What is not helpful or beneficial in anyway is impatience, anger, hurtful words, or negative attitudes. These reveal what is truly in our heart or on our mind. At times, we project negative thoughts and emotions onto God who is innocent and wants to assist. God is not the cause of our anger or hurt but the one that can help us to heal and move forward and through it. Consider what is in your heart or on your mind but project the goodness of God.