Homily September 25, 2022
How small we are, we humans.
Our pretensions are larger than the universe, but despite them small we remain.
A passing look into the heavens on a cloudless country night reveals a world so far beyond us we can hardly imagine it. Countless stars in countless galaxies in a void that even light must take decades to travel. And here we are on this blue dot in the darkness of space, scurrying about for what is really a small thread in the fabric of time.
How fragile we are as humans.
We fancy being rulers over the natural world and yet we can be dethroned by a virus smaller than our vision. We presume to master time and yet a single unplanned event can remove us permanently from the life we imagined.
The truth is that despite our braggadocio we often live at the whims of our environment, others, things we never could control, far away decisions, and twists of fate. Life humbles us, repeatedly.
Still, there is a great light shining in all of this.
The God who brought the farthest galaxies into being somehow, for reasons we cannot often fathom, loves us. Not afraid of our fragility, the shortness of our earthly lives, or the weakness of body and soul He chooses to place eternity within, to join us to Himself, and give us the grace to even contemplate approaching the holy, and holy things.
We are earthen vessels, literally made up of the same elements of this planet. Our immediate destiny is to one day decay and become part of the very soil from which we were taken in the time of Eden. Yet in the brief flash of life between then and now the One who brought everything into existence, Who is beyond existence itself, has come to us to live with and in us, and even to reveal His glory to the world in our mortality.
Perplexed, set upon, harried, limited, and challenged we walk this world and yet in the midst of it the Light unconquered shines from around us and within and grace beyond our imagination is revealed in bodies of flesh. We carry our crosses, bear the marks of suffering, and yet it is at that very place where God is revealed to, in, and through us and those who understand it begin to realize how the God who places eternity into our finiteness can also grant us a kind of invincibility.
We are not immune from the realities of the world, but we’ve been given the potential to transcend. We are not released from the obligation of the cross but by it we discover life eternal. In our humility we overcome the world. In our meekness we inherit all that is good. In our suffering we join ourselves to Christ and His resurrection is ours as well. And the sign of all of this is to reveal this not in great flashes of lightning, or angelic choirs, but rather by the life and light and grace of God being shown to the world at the very places where are most vulnerable, weak and challenged.
For the one who follows Christ this is an assurance and a foretaste of what is, and what is to come. We know the peace and grace that allows us to endure and even thrive in the world is from God because our own weakness reminds us that we could never generate this of our own accord. Each bit of brokenness transformed by God is His still, small, voice telling us “Yes, you are loved, I am with you, and even your darkness is not beyond my reach.” We are surrounded by the grace and glory of God but sometimes we only become aware of it in the fury of struggle.
God shining in our feebleness is a sign, as well, of what will one day be. We are being transformed. The world is being transformed. History is moving towards its Creator like an arrow flies to its point of impact. The grace and glory of God that shines through our limitedness reminds that one day it will be reality itself, eternal, glorious, and holy.
What a great mystery this is! What a profound contemplation of that which is real and true but beyond our ability to completely understand. God loves us. God chose to come to be with us. God desires to inhabit all of who we are with the glory of His presence, even in the places where we’ve been broken, where we’re most fragile, where the things that life has thrown at us join us to the sufferings of our Lord. The reality that we are earthen vessels and fragile in our humanity becomes, because of it, the very place where His grace and glory touch us and where we see the promise of what will one day be.
If for this alone, how could we refuse to worship such a God?