I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
Predictably, the liturgical calendar does not notice the celebration of Halloween. Neither, alas, does the schedule of federal holidays. But it's interesting to notice the readings offered by the Church in the light of the macabre festivities of October 31.
If the Letter to the Romans holds pride of place in the New Testament canon, the eighth chapter may be the sparkling diamond at the top of the crown. Saint Paul might have finished this passage with an astonished question, "Where did that come from?" Clearly it came from the Lord. The Spirit of God had spoken.
Unlike the Halloween visions of life-in-death with agonized howls by damned souls, the Word of God assures us of glory to be revealed for us. We cannot imagine the obscurity which determinists offer. They think the human being is nothing more than an amazing machine. When its break down its parts are recycled; its memory, forgotten.
Nor do we expect to rest content in a dusty grave like that of the animal kingdom. We heard God's warning to Adam, "ashes to ashes and dust to dust," and we take it seriously -- but God has promised in Jesus the "revelation of the children of God."
Today's gospel also reminds us that we cannot imagine the glory to be revealed. If the promise is a mustard seed, the fullness will be an astonishing tree. The Spirit of God will fill our being as yeast fills bread (and energizes beer!), bringing satisfaction with it.
It is good to reflect on these words of promise; just to hear them is to experience the joy of anticipation.