21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
am at Saint Mary Parish, Pylesville
am at Saint Matthew Parish, Baltimore
Standing in Wonder: The Universe
This past Monday afternoon, I got into my car to drive home around three o’clock.
The solar eclipse was just ending. I turned on the radio and one of the networks was interviewing people about their experience with the eclipse.
One person said: “It’s just so good to look up. It’s so good to look beyond ourselves and our world.”
Another person said: “It’s really overwhelming when you think about it. It helps you to see how small we really are.”
And another person said: “It helps us to realize how much we know – I mean, for scientists to be able to calculate when this was going to happen. And it also helps us to realize how much we don’t know.”
Standing in Wonder: God
Well, what I see underneath these comments is our standing in wonder at the universe, and beyond that, our standing in wonder at God.
Saint Paul beautifully expresses this today: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!”
It is as if Paul is also looking up and beyond ourselves and our world. Paul stands in wonder at the greatness and mystery of God.
Standing in Wonder: The Son of God
And then, today’s gospel opens up another experience of wonder.
The apostles had already stood in wonder as they saw Jesus calming the stormy lake and healing people. Now Peter says that he believes that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This idea is both simple and simply awesome. There is the Almighty One, the One before whom we stand in wonder when we look up to the heavens and beyond ourselves.
And now, Peter and we declare that this Almighty One has become one of us. And so, along with Peter and the other apostles, we stand in wonder before Jesus.
And, as if that isn’t enough, God in Jesus shows us how to live everyday life in that wonder. He shows us how to live standing in wonder, as if we are looking up and beyond ourselves and our world.
Living in Wonder
For example, we live in wonder before Jesus:
· when we pray from our hearts and really mean what we say;
· when we receive Holy Communion, and are aware that this is Jesus, the Son of God coming to us;
· when we receive Holy Communion, and are aware that this Communion – spelled with a capital C – enlivens our communion – spelled with a small c – with all God’s sons and daughters on this earth.
Again, we live in wonder before Jesus:
· when we are faithful to our commitments to one another;
· when we sacrifice for the good of our families;
· when we take a minute to say something supportive to the clerk at the check-out line who seems to be having a bad day.
And again, we live in wonder before Jesus:
· when we speak respectfully about others and to others, no matter what;
· when we do things that promote unity among people;
· when we try to build bridges between others and ourselves.
And finally, we live in wonder before Jesus:
· when we look above and beyond our own needs and concerns to the common good of all;
· when we maintain hope based on our faith that God will be with us, no matter what;
· when we cherish human life across the board and equally, wherever or in whomever it is found.
They are some of the ways that come to my mind – some of the ways that Jesus shows us how to live everyday life in wonder, how to live as if we are looking up and beyond ourselves and our world.
When we live in these ways, we are standing in wonder before Jesus and we are making a very positive difference in our world.