James J. DiGiacomo | Jul 19 2007 - 9:48am | 3 comments
Gen 18: 1-10a; Col:24-28; Luke 10:38-42 Mary spends time listening to Jesus because he opens up a whole world to her. Paul calls it "the mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones." Many people are totally closed off from this mystery; it is a world they find totally unreal. A friend of mine once told me about a challenging conversation he had with a lawyer. The man told him, "You clergymen try to convince people that they are more than animals. You try to make them believe that there is some transcendent purpose to life, that there is some kind of cosmic meaning that they can be part of. The way I see it, if we have any purpose on this earth, it is just to keep things going. We can stir the pot while we are here and try to keep things interesting. Beyond that, everything runs down: your marriage runs down, your body runs down, your faith runs down. We can only try to make it interesting." The lawyer, of course, is an atheist. He says, in effect, that what you see is what you get, and nothing more. We disagree. By our very presence here at this Eucharist, we are saying that he is wrong. There is a whole dimension of reality that escapes him. It can be seen only with the eyes of faith. We have been let in on a secret: that we are not alone in an uncaring universe that’s going nowhere. We are loved and cared for by a God who, through Jesus Christ, has shared our lot. By his cross and resurrection he has won for us a life stronger than death. Yes, things run down, but that’s not the last word. God has a plan for us, and a destiny. He invites us on a journey to a fuller life. To outsiders, we are just a group of people engaged in ritual behavior here at Mass. But much more is going on. We are in touch with the world of the spirit. We are engaged in a conversation with the living God who is not a million miles away but right here among us, as close as Jesus was to Mary. We are making present the redemptive death and resurrection of God’s own son. We are eating the bread of life--Jesus himself--as food for the journey. We have much reason to be grateful, to rejoice, to hope. Do we have anything to do? Yes. We can share the secret with those who have not heard the good news or, like the lawyer, fmd it hard to believe. How can we do that? Just by being here, in church, we are making a statement; by trying to live lives marked by justice and compassion and care; by refusing to settle for a life of conspicuous consumption, by valuing people more than things. These are signs that this liturgy is no mere exercise in empty religious formalism, but that we are truly in touch with the divine. The lawyer says, "In the end, everything runs down." St. Paul says, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the human mind, what great things God has prepared for those who love him." And they’re happening right here, right now. James DiGiacomo, S.J.