There are some beautiful verses in the first reading for Mass today from the book of Job. Job wrote about God’s power and might, and his descriptions about God are very beautiful and read almost like poetry:
“He commands the sun, and it rises not; he seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea.”
Job’s description of how God “sealed up the stars”, is a lot different than the way that we would describe them in modern times. Job seemed to accept the limits of his understanding of the heavens though. The words in this reading that seem to be the most beautiful part though, is when he declared that:
“He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea.”
The vastness of God’s existence is beyond our comprehension or understanding too. We can not quite wrap our minds around the size of the universe or the distance of the earth and the oceans around the world. Job must have spent a lot of time in prayer contemplating the broad expanse of the night sky and the unfathomable depths of the ocean.
The lights that emanate from the stars are beautiful, and so is the moonlight that reflects off the water at night. If you have ever sat outside at night on a beach, or near a lake, you may have experienced this tranquility and sense of awe and wonder at God’s most magnificent creation. He is the painter of the masterpiece of the universe. God’s fingerprints are found in everything that exists. His beauty is timeless.
Therefore, it is not such a bad thing that Jesus tells his disciples in today’s gospel that:
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
The scriptures do not say this, but it makes you wonder if Jesus wished he had a place to call home. Perhaps it was not always easy traveling from place to place all of the time. There are some blessings to be found in this type of life though. Jesus slept outside among the stars in the night sky and would have watched the sunrise and the sunset each day. A connection with nature is not a bad thing, if you have your basic needs taken care of. It all depends on how you look at it.
Modern people have lost a sense of connection with our creator that is often experienced in nature, sometimes in our large cities. It is like an artificial separation in a way, from the natural world that we were created to be a part of. Yes, we all love our comforts of home. A soft, warm bed, a hot meal, a nice warm bath and protection from the rain, snow and heat of the day. But, it is a little too easy to cling to our modern comforts. We take these things for granted after a while and lose some of our appreciation for the small things in life. However, happiness often lies in the little things we experience in our everyday life.
Jesus told one of the men in today’s gospel to follow him, but he replied that he needed to bury his father first. Jesus said to let the dead bury their dead, but he should go proclaim the Kingdom of God. Then another spoke up that he would follow Jesus, but he wanted to say goodbye to his family at home first. Jesus answered him:
“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
It is a heartbreaking thing to look back at our lives sometimes. There is a saying, “that you can never go home again,” and this is true because even when we do return to our childhood home or where we used to live, things have usually changed quite a bit. It will never be exactly the way we remembered it.
One thing we might gather from the scriptures today is that it can be a good thing to live in the present moment. Don’t look back at your life with regrets, or be afraid of the future, but simply live in the present moment. Whether you are better off than you were in the past, or if your life took a turn for the worse, it really doesn’t matter. Happiness is in the present moment. We should love the ones we are with, not the ones we have lost, or that is no longer with us, but love the people that are in our lives today. Happiness lies here.
The Kingdom of God has always been with us all along. We just need to recignize this. The Kingdom of God isn’t a place with only certain people in it. The Kingdom of God lies inside of us and inside of those with whom we share our days. Family, friends and strangers too. We are all part of the same human family, journeying together until we reach our eternal home.
Daily Mass Readings:
Job 9: 1-12, 14-16 / Psalm 88 / Luke 9: 57-62