Sunday, April 1, 2012

Passion Sunday of Our Lord (Palm Sunday) B:

It was an astounding sight.  Right there inside the den just off our living room.  I walked into the room and I saw what I now could say was the most beautiful creature I had ever witnessed.  It was a hummingbird just outside the window, hovering along a row of late springtime flowers.

I grew up loving nature.  In fact my favorite show was "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom".  I cannot honestly recall why.  My dad also loved it, perhaps it was a first strong similarity that we shared.  It was on at about 7PM on Sunday nights.  Perhaps again, the time was early enough that a young boy could watch it  without a worry about it getting too late and impinging on the sad reality of "bed-time".

Methinks now that I may have a better perspective.  I just recently completed (a great blessing) a very good theological education.  First given at home and then in the seminary.  My education teaches me that the hummingbird scene is deeper than just a simple scene from our beautiful world.

You see, there is something utterly mysterious about what the hummingbird outside my window was actually doing.  It was feeding itself with nectar from the fresh flowers, yet at the same time helping the very same flowers with cross-pollonization.  Another way of expressing this is this:  the bird, a creature designed by God, while seeking and finding food, was helping a plant propagate its own species, by transferring pollen to the same plant species.  Either one could not exist without the other.  The hummingbird could starve and the plant would never see another springtime because no new seeds would be produced through cross-pollenization.

For me, nature is beautiful and at times very complete.  Other times it can be violent.  We see other birds like Robbins swooping down to the ground and then plucking up worms for their brood.  Even more horrifying are American Eagles, the great symbols of national unity in the USA.  They will have two or three chicks (hopefully) every spring and it is highly usual for one of the stronger chicks to literally kick a weaker chick out of the nest while both parents are away hunting.   Some would say, "Well only the strong can survive".

Charles Darwin says this is survival of the fittest.  In fact this is taught in nearly all of our public schools.

This CANNOT be an objective, universal truth for us Catholics.

Why?  Because....

Though he was in the form of God, he deemed being God something that could not be grasped.
Rather he humbled himself, taking the form of a slave..... (Ph 2:5f)

Jesus, was and is the weakest of all of God's favored creatures, in the fullness of His humanity.  He never turned his back on anyone (See lepers, adulterers, murderers, tax collectors, zealots...).  However, he cannot raise us without our cooperation with His holy will.  Necessary is our posture of repentence.

So that at the name of Jesus, every head should bow and knee should bend, to the praise and glory of God the almighty Father. (Ph 2:11f)

Nature is not perfect but God the creator of all things will occasionally offer us an image of perfection; hummingbirds and flowers cooperating naturally with his will.  He will also show us evil, a great mystery, like a lion taking down an innocent gazelle fawn.

Our world that we live in is in the shadow of original sin, fallenness.  Christ IS OUR REDEMPTION.

The simple, shepherd like carpenter from Nazareth witnesses to suffering and then submits to the most violent and evil of all tragedies, the Crucifixion.

He does so to restore original grace, as was intended in the Garden before the Fall.

Eternal life.  This is what you and I are called to.  This is what we believe in.  This is what our Trinitarian God, still a great and profound unsolvable mystery leads us toward: eternal life.

Here is where His joy is made complete, as his good and faithful servants gather around Him with all the Angels and Saints at the heavenly banquet.  Here is where there will be no more wailing or gnashing of teeth, nor sorrow or tears.  Here is Where only His glory and our eternal joy, with Mary the Mother of God can and will be made complete.

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son
 and of the Holy Spirit.

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