5th Sunday C            –           Their Eyes Were Opened                                                                                                                 

 When I was about seventeen or eighteen and trying to see what might lie beyond secondary school and leaving cert, I first thought of priesthood. My grandfather had told me to do something that would be of service to others. Thoughts of being a priest and a life of serving the church appealed to me as making a lot of sense.  Back in the 1950s God, the church and religion loomed large. To give oneself to the service of God and the church was universally praiseworthy. Many young women and men joined religious orders and the priesthood. A Protestant Minister in Wexford shook the hand of a man whose daughter had left home to become a Catholic nun.

The world has changed. Power, money and pleasure reign supreme today as the values by which to measure our lives and happiness. Freedom, the ability to choose, is worshipped as the ultimate reality. There is no standard of truth and goodness outside of us, before which we must bow. We make the truth. We decide what is good. And “nobody has any right to tell me what to do.” The human person has no duty or responsibility to any authority other than itself. The late Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher SJ remarked many times about the loss of belief today: “God is missing but not missed.” That is one of the saddest lines he ever wrote.

All three Sunday readings tell of human encounters with something that’s way beyond mindfulness and consciousness – a high and awesome mystery, complete otherness: the Bible calls it ‘The Holy’. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” – cf. Jean Danielou, God and Us, 89. Peter’s encounter with Christ as recounted in the Gospel leads us to the mystery that’s at the heart of all life – extravagant life-giving goodness and generosity. All the debates about God’s existence collapse before such revelation of love. Peter listened to Jesus and a huge catch of fish ensued. The event caught Peter in Jesus’ net and opened his eyes to reality. Remember the eye-opening event at the inn near Emmaus? – Luke 24: 28ff.

It’s important to listen to others. The Spirit of God is especially active when two or three are together, leading each out of its individual self and into a conscious oneness with Christ and each other: “I live now not with my own life I but I live with the life of Christ who lives in me” – Gal 2:20. The Gospel preached by Jesus rests on the assumption that we humans are powerless over our addiction to power, money and pleasure, the sin of the world. The sad and sorry truth of this assumption is borne out for all to see in the litany of human horror across our world today. Since we are unable to save ourselves we need Christ and the hope and power of his resurrection – All I need is Christ and the power of his resurrection – Philippians 3:10.

 

Fr. QQ – 02/02/2022

      “The most important thing is not how you are,

                  but what you make of things.”                                                                                                         

                                                            – Old Norwegian saying

 

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