Today’s Gospel from Mark recalls Jesus walking through a field of grain with his disciples. How often did Jesus utilize the surrounding beauty of creation to be the backdrop, the ‘classroom’ for instructing the disciples? He used references to creation often to refer to God and the wisdom of God’s ways.
Friday last week, the mother of one of our priests died. Saturday morning, another mother of another priest died, this one from the Philippines. Some day, someone should write a book about the mothers of priests, but I’ll save that topic for another blog entry.
Yesterday, I drove from Cheyenne to Sheridan to be present for a prayer service last night and the funeral this morning. The beauty of creation was all around, and it was a needed lift for my soul. The Book of Sirach teaches: “All wisdom is from the LORD and remains with him forever.” (1:1) It also says: “There is but one, wise and truly awesome, seated upon his throne – the LORD. It is he who created her, saw her and measured her, Poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty, lavished her upon those who love him.” (1:8-10) Now we know why the beauty of nature lifts the soul – because it is imbued with the wisdom of God. Creation is meant to lead the observant individual to consider the One God and to sing his praises.
Yesterday was mostly overcast, but even the cloudy day had its own sense of wonder. Most of the landscape is now covered with snow, but thankfully the roads were clear for travel. This time of year, particularly the further north one travels in Wyoming, it is fairly common to see Bald Eagles sitting on fence posts or feeding on carrion in the fields. Yesterday was no exception for spotting several of these majestic birds.
The landscape this time of year has its own beauty. The vast plains, spotted with cattle and occasional sheep as they feed on open spots of grass slowly give way to the slopes and mountains. The vast openness of these spaces caress the horizon, and yesterday were a playground for the sweeping wind to ramp up to speeds in excess of 50 mph. Most of the rivers and lakes are now frozen over, with a few openings where the ducks and geese gather in safety.
The snow tends to drive the bigger game out of the mountains into the lower elevations. I saw numerous herds of antelope which regularly inhabit the plains, along with deer, elk, and several flocks of wild turkey.
Jesus in today’s Gospel tells us: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) God gives us the Sabbath rest so that we may be reminded of the many ways we are surrounded by our God. The Sabbath is given so that we may be renewed in this fundamental relationship of love, which is at the heart of all relationships – with all people and will all of nature.
May we have eyes today to see the wisdom of God present in everything he has created – not the least of which is the human person. May we have the ears to hear that wisdom perfectly expressed in the Words of Jesus. May we have the gift of faith to believe in Jesus to receive from Him the gift of life.