Thursday, August 03, 2017

God is in All Things by Colleen O’Sullivan

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.  They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?  Is he not the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?  Are not his sisters all with us?   Where did this man get all this?”  And they took offense at him.  But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”  And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.  (Matthew 13:54-58)

Lord, open the eyes and ears of my heart to your presence in all things.  May my preconceived notions not prevent me from experiencing your presence.

This past Monday we celebrated the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who, almost 500 years ago, introduced us to his Spiritual Exercises as well as Ignatian spirituality in general.  Underpinning all of Ignatian spirituality is the firm conviction that God is to be found in all things.

I thought about that as I was reflecting on today’s Gospel reading.  It doesn’t appear that anyone in Nazareth was able to see anything of God in Jesus.  They saw someone whose diapers they had long ago changed.  They saw someone they had shared lessons with or played together with as boys.  They saw the carpenter’s son.  What would that hometown guy know about anything beyond keeping Joseph’s business going?  Maybe the villagers shared the world’s opinion of themselves and believed that nothing good could come from Nazareth.  Whatever the reason, they failed to see that Jesus’ words of wisdom and his “mighty deeds” were evidence of God’s presence in their midst.

Because of their blindness and lack of faith, Jesus left Nazareth after preaching that day in the synagogue.  There was nothing he could do for his hometown folks – no healing, no forgiving of sin - because they lacked any kind of spiritual insight.  The Son of God was in their midst, and all they could see was one of their own who had gotten a little too big for his britches to their way of thinking.

God is in all things, yet how often do we miss seeing God in our midst?  Maybe we only expect to meet God during the one hour on Sunday morning that we spend at Mass.  Maybe we’re sure what God looks and sounds like and that doesn’t include the birdsong at dawn, the butterflies in our gardens in the afternoon sun or the lightning bugs that glow in our backyards on summer evenings.  Maybe we can see the wonder of creation in the face of a newborn child, but do we also recognize God’s loving presence at the other end of the spectrum, when we near the end of our time on earth?  Do we feel God’s tears falling upon us as God surveys the world and sees how many lives have been uprooted or ended by warfare around the globe?  Or when God sees the tens of millions of refugees who wander the earth in search of a place to call home?  Can we find God when things don’t go our way?  When tragedy strikes?

God is in all things, but if we don’t have eyes of faith to see the divine, no great works can be done in our midst, either.

In Monday’s Daily Tripod, Tony described the Ignatian Examen prayer.  I would urge you to go back and reread what he wrote because this is a prayer that on a daily basis helps us to reflect on where we have seen and heard God in the past 24 hours.

No comments: