Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is so much a part of your faith that you may take for granted? The answer is a very simple one word response: mystery! Throughout our tenets of faith, perhaps more than any other practice of religion, we encounter so much mystery. Just recall for a moment a few mysteries we cannot fully understand that are "pillars of our faith" that we live with each day: the virgin birth, the Body and Blood of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine; the crucified and dead Jesus raised from the dead; the same Jesus' appearance to his disciples; the several accounts of miraculous events --raising Lazarus from the dead, water changed to wine, a few loaves and fish multiplied for thousands; this same Jesus is God's only Son; and the feast we celebrate today, the Holy Trinity. Is there any religion so rich with gifts, these and other realities for us, gifts that remain mysteries?

Moses, blessed by singular moments with Yahweh throughout his years of ministry to the people, reminded them that they themselves were brought forth in mystery. There was no other god who was so powerful, so giving, so caring. This is the God of besides whom there is no other. This is the God who commands they must incorporate in their lives. These are the ways of life they must teach their children.

After some centuries the needed and hoped for Messiah is born. No ordinary kind, this messiah is the Son of God. So filled with mystery was his life, is it at all surprising that his disciples doubted at times? Even being with Jesus for three years did not completely erase some doubts that seemed to linger in their hearts and minds. Even when the God of Abraham, Moses and the other prophets gifted the disciples with the Holy Spirit, was this not a moment of mystery for them?

St. Paul, himself blessed by several appearances by Jesus, reminds those who accept the Holy Spirit in their lives, that our God of mysteries is not a God who sees us, his creations, as slaves. We are his children. We are his heirs -- all that we have comes from Him.

There on the mountain top, as described in Matthew's closing words of his "Life of Christ," his gospel, we, the sons and daughters of God, we are given the great commissioning: "Go ... make disciples ... baptize them ... teach them to observe all I have taught (you)" and never forget "I am with you always."

You and I, all of us are children of God, living our lives of faith in mystery. Like the disciples on the mountain, there are for us as well moments of doubt because our analytical minds are challenged by the great gifts we call mysteries and because we have to live with the reality of another mystery we call Original Sin. Yet would we love our God, would be trust our God were he like any other kind, any other earthly power? There are no genuine mysteries in their "kingdoms" -- perhaps only "secrets" that lead us to mistrust and dislike. Our God, our faith -- these are true mysteries that bless us, give us strength and gives each of us the ability to know "I am a child of the One, True God."