Oct 2, 2021

Knowing our place


Click here for First Option Diocesan Homily and Resources on the Eucharist

Mark 9:30 - 37 

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

After Labor Day,  the season of summer unofficially comes to a close - the fall will officially begin.  Even with the arrival of cooler and darker mornings and longer shadows in the evenings, I get the sense that summer does not want to be put in it's box. 

Maybe, because it knows that it is, like a child, time to bed, it's not leaving without a heated protest (and we felt that last week).  And I'm sure that in the coming months of the fall, and even during the winter, with what we call the Santa Ana winds, the summer we thought was sleeping quietly, wakes up every so often and blows hot air at us.     

So, why do I bring this up?  It is because, the church calendar is very much in tune with the seasons.  Because the natural only makes sense when we see it in its relationship with the supernatural, our soul also senses changing patterns in our environment and surroundings. So, as we anticipate the the Last Rites and death of summer, the Church gives us today's selection of Scriptures for the Mass, so that we can meditate on how prepared we are to face the cold darkness - in all it forms, both visible and invisible. 

As if to assess our "readiness for the fall and winter", today's Entrance Antiphon spoke of crying out to the Lord in distress, in tribulation. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom has us meditate on the enemy's dark strategy. Psalm 54 comes from the anguish of a heart that fears betrayal. The Second Reading from St. James explores the internal origin of wars and conflicts. And the Gospel has Christ predicting his death and his resurrection.  But rather than issuing us with armor to go to the front lines or a defense strategy to prevent the fall, Our Lord presents us with a child - a child shall be our standard bearer. And then he embraces this little child in his arms? What does this mean?

If the Almighty God who created the immense universe out of nothing and filled it with so much, in all its splendor and all its terrifying and most beautiful complexity - If God, to whom the whole cosmos is but a speck of dust, became smaller still and allowed himself to be vulnerable, not afraid even to be mothered by a young girl, God asks us too, do not be afraid of becoming little. And as if to assure us even more, Christ places his arms around the little child. Allow Christ to protect you. If God who is unimaginably bigger than the whole universe can humble himself to become a man, can we not humble ourselves to be like a little child - his little child? 

The humility of God is his greatest strength. Our humility before the strength of God is his greatest gift to us. 

Back to the language of nature.  To paraphrase St. Augustine:  “Consider a tree: how as it grows, it must reach down deep into the earth so that it might shoot forth upwards. It anchors its roots deep in the ground so that it may reach the heavens.  Is it not from its humility (hidden from public view) that the tree can rise to great heights?  Without humility, there is no growth. Without deep and secure roots, yes, you might rise tall, but you easily collapse in the winter storm.”

The autumn will now teach the summer that if it is to see the springtime, it must step aside, be humble and even die to itself. May we not be afraid to do likewise, being held secure within the strong arms of the Lord.

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Diocesan Homily and Resources on the Eucharist Sunday Eucharistic Themes to keep in mind to apply to one’s life: He took (choose), blessed, ...