As I reflect on my life in this year of the Lord 2018, there is one small bit of history that I long to retrieve however there is not much promise that it will ever happen. My one great longing is to know exactly, exactly where I was born.
For 18 years I have written letters exploring the Scriptures, month after month, hoping to find some new and astonishing insights. You long-patient readers have doubtless been hoping for the same result. Why then do we continue to explore the Word of God month after month?
So, what should we say regarding those two words — intelligence and wisdom — that we use so often in common conversation? Intelligence, obviously, is that human ability to understand something, to separate it from or compare it to something similar. It is the brainpower we are born with that guides us safely throughout our lives and helps us find our place in the world community.
Let us assume, for the sake of illustration, that two inhabitants of Enceladus, a small planet in the rings of Saturn, should, by some strange coincidence, find themselves standing on a busy street corner in New York.
We seldom sense the presence of the sacred in moments of terror, natural or man-made. Nature itself, of course, follows the patterns instilled in the universe by God from the moment of first creation. Of course, we humans sometimes find ourselves crosswise with nature’s powers, but God obviously means no evil intent; nature does what nature was created to do.
“Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” The question popped up for me again as I read the Gospel for this 14th Sunday in ordinary time where Jesus’ family and his neighbors find him: “His wisdom was beyond them. After all, is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his family living here with us?” Who is this person really?
I must confess, without shame as a writer, that I approach the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity each year with a sense of fear and trembling. Try as I might, to write something worthy of my God, I find that I fall short.
After some time, however, I learned that life in the world and life in the church are not all that dissimilar. In both settings ordinary people try to make sense out of disorder, problems, uncertainties, relationships, responsibilities and so forth. In most instances, people of good sense seem to insist on reasonable debate, peaceful conversation and respectful listening.
Christians down through the ages, of course, know this modest parade as the celebration as Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. We remember this singular event in Jesus life year after year by singing hymns of praise and carrying palms in procession much as the early followers of Jesus did.