Today's Alleluia offers a meeting place between our first reading, which concerns our place in creation, and the gospel, about Jesus' encounter with children:
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.The author of Ecclesiasticus, Jesus ben Sirach, says of our place in God's creation,
Limited days of life he gives him, with power over all things else on earth. He puts the fear of him in all flesh, and gives him rule over beasts and birds.The human race is, in effect, god of the universe and subject only to the Lord of Creation. The animals fear us as we should fear God. The woods of Mount Saint Francis might be overcrowded with deer; there may be coyotes and groundhogs out there; and perhaps some pumas and boars. But during my photographic rambles, I see only a few squirrels and they keep a wary eye on me. All flesh are in fear of me, it seems; and as proprietor of this land I rule over them.
He put the fear of himself upon their hearts,Perhaps this fear of the Lord explains why I met such a fearful glance recently in the VA hospital. I knew immediately by his eyes he was estranged from the Church. Of course I knew it also by his suicidal ideation and alcoholism. He watched me warily, like a squirrel although he could not disappear behind the bole of a tree. He seemed to fear more than my greeting or my teaching; he feared a mighty work and wondrous deed. I handed his girlfriend a brochure for the chaplaincy and invited them to watch the televised hospital Mass. I planted a seed; someone else might harvest the grain.
and showed them his mighty works,
That they might glory in the wonder of his deeds
and praise his holy name.
The only wonderful works I perform are Anointing the Sick, Absolution and Eucharist. These are astonishing displays of power which I administrate whenever I am directed by the Spirit to do so. They go largely unnoticed by the cacophonous hubbub of conversations and nursing ministrations that go on around me. Sometimes I can hardly hear my own words; I have to hang on to the recitation of prayers like a water skier to his towrope.
An everlasting covenant he has made with them, his justice and his judgments he has revealed to them. His majestic glory their eyes beheld, his glorious voice their ears heard.I wonder how many people actually noticed that Jesus was being crucified on that busy Friday before the major feast of Passover. Crucifixion was hardly unusual; Romans did it all the time to their unfortunate subjects. Perhaps the Evangelists exaggerated the reactions of the bystanders and the elemental earth, sun and moon to draw our attention to what happened that day. Certainly Jesus' disciples were keenly aware of the tragedy but the world had other business to attend. Perhaps only his disciples beheld his majestic glory or heard his glorious voice.
For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.