Reflection on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17, 2 Corinthians 5, Mark 4
Today’s readings seem like they might have been perfectly designed for us here at Loretto Motherhouse today. The first reading, from the Prophet Ezekiel, speaks of God starting with a “slender shoot” torn from the top of a cedar and re-planted on a high mountain top. That little shoot grows and spreads and flourishes, it provides home for “every winged thing,” and for every one planted there, “vigorous and sturdy even in old age.” Today’s Gospel continues on that theme, speaking of someone who scatters seed —even a tiny mustard seed, which grows, hopefully, to put forth large branches so that the birds of the sky can dwell in the shade. Each reading today adds to the picture of God’s faithful, tender care for even the very smallest of those seeds, those plants God has placed in Earth’s — in our — care. And the psalm reminds us, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing to your name, Most High, to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness throughout the night.” It’s a good calling for us, right now, as spring turns into summer, to be attentive and to be grateful for the the Earth over us and under us, all around us.
The readings are giving us strong reminders, as well. For Paul, to say “we walk by faith and not by sight” is the lived experience of those early Christians. It’s interesting that when Paul writes to the Corinthians, he twice reminds them to be courageous. At that time, being a follower of Jesus might have been unusual, strange, maybe more than a bit crazy. What courage would it require to be joining a group following this man who died crucified as a criminal? It’s interesting that twice in one short paragraph Paul uses the word ”courageous”: “Brothers and sisters, we are always courageous …” That might lead us to ask whether courage is a useful word in our vocabularies. Are we aware that we “walk by faith and not by sight?” Does it cost us anything? When might that faith be called forth from you or me?
I couldn’t help thinking, as I was preparing this homily, of the piece in the latest copy of our ”Interchange” where we see in large letters (p. 9), “What is emerging?” And it occurs to me that we, too, in a different way, are walking by faith as we face a country presently ravaged (I hope that’s too strong a word) by controversy, and more, a planet facing climate change and nuclear destruction, and myriad other global disturbances, moving into a “technologizing” world and a future we cannot imagine. And we, Loretto, are asking: What is emerging!
And as boldly as could be imagined, Mary Ellen McElroy answers that question with 14th century Meister Eckhart, a wonderful story about “the moment when the human flowed out from the Creator, all creatures stood up and shouted: ‘Behold! Here is God!’ and Mary Ellen concludes with a loving Namaste: “I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace.”
Yes, we walk by faith and not by sight. And yes, brothers and sisters, we are always courageous, And yes, Behold our God. And yes. We are emerging.