Friday, November 17, 2017
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. But yet, for these the blame is less; for they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him. For they search busily among his works but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. But again, not even these are pardonable. For if they so succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord? (Wisdom 13:5-9)
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. (Psalm 19:2-3)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see and, even more, open my mind and heart that I may understand what I see.
Today’s Scripture readings strike me as being about an inability to discern the deepest truth of what we see around us. In the reading from the Book of Wisdom, we see how our forebears searched nature for God but missed finding God. They worshipped the things of creation – the stars, the might of the sea, the sun and the moon, and even some animals. They idolized the gifts of creation and totally missed the Giver, the Creator God whose power lies behind every bit of it.
In Luke’s Gospel Jesus portrays the people of Noah’s day as remarkably disinterested in what was going on around them. No one wondered or asked why Noah was building an ark. No one thought it was alarming that Noah put all his family on board. No one questioned the sanity of turning the deck of this ark into a zoo. There was a reason for all of this, a very good reason. Too bad no one attempted to find out what it was. And then suddenly it was too late, even if they had been the least bit curious.
Jesus said people haven’t changed in all the years since the days of Noah. They continue to go about their business as though life in this world stretches on without end or without any kind of reckoning as to how our days have been spent.
I think Jesus pretty much hits the nail on the head. People haven’t changed much, in fact, don’t generally ever change much. We still find it difficult to put God before everything and everyone else. We mistake the gifts of creation for the Giver. I’m sure, if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us love our spouses, our children, or our best friends more than we love God. Some of us love our material possessions or our 401(k) balances more than we love the Lord. We’re just as idolatrous as the people described in the first reading, although the objects of our affections may be different. And many of us, like the people of Noah’s day or the people in Jesus’ day, don’t interpret the signs of the times or what stares us right in the face very well.
In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the final contemplation is the Contemplation on Divine Love. The things we see around us, the gifts God gives us, are true and beautiful but pale in comparison to the Giver of all these gifts. Take some time today to consider God’s overwhelming love for us and the fact that we owe God way more than the idolatry or indifference which are often our responses to Divine Love.