In the Lectionary

September 3, Ordinary 22A (Exodus 3:1–15)

We see what we focus on—and what we focus on determines what we do not see.

The reason Father Robert—not to mention his dog—lived to a ripe old age was my friend Sister AJ’s observational skills.

Every afternoon, Father Robert took a thermos of coffee and his little dog, Pugsley, on a leisurely walk through the woods. Sister AJ rarely joined them. She didn’t much like the dog, and frankly, she accomplished more with Father out from underfoot.

But as the aging priest grew less steady on his feet, Sister AJ began accompanying him. Father was thrilled to have her company, though he tried her patience by stopping every few yards to point out a particular flower, a certain rock, the tracks of raccoons, and spiderwebs. He often paused in these moments for prayer, his face upturned toward the sun, smiling beatifically, blissfully unaware of Sister AJ dodging poison ivy to chase after Pugsley, who had a habit of wandering off-trail.