Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Believing in the invisible

Today we hear the Lord tell us through the prophet Isaiah,

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

This concept of the power of God's Word is seen throughout the scriptures all the way back to the very beginning of Genesis where God creates the universe by speaking.

It is important to note that it is the spoken word that contains this power, the word that "goes forth from my mouth." So often when we use the phrase the word of God we immediately think of the Bible. We want to limit ourselves to the written Word. It would be a grave mistake to think that God did to speak before or after the revelation contained in scripture. But our tendency to limit God's speaking to the Bible is really part of a larger problem, our modern tendency to limit reality to what we can perceive.

From a scientific point of view we know that the human visible spectrum of light is only a small portion of a much larger whole. There are animals that can see what is invisible to us. The same is true of sound. The range of frequencies that we can hear is actually quite small. And yet, if we cannot see it or hear it with our eyes, ears or technology; we tend to doubt its presence. It's not really real. Invisible reality is relegated to the realm of science fiction and fantasy. And God is in heaven.

When we walk into a church and we see the tabernacle, what do we see? Can we see with the eyes of faith? Many Christians have become so trapped at the level of the material visible world that they have given up all together on the concept of Christ being truly present in the Sacrament. Even many Catholics find it hard to believe what their eyes cannot see. They see the tabernacle as only a shiny box. The idea of church as sanctuary, place of the Holy, has all but vanished.

One of the things we all need to give up for Lent is skepticism. We must give up our narrow-minded view of the world. We must remember just how much of reality exists beyond the limits of our senses. If we cannot perceive the Holy in a church or chapel, how can we ever hope to perceive it in the world.

The paradox of our faith is that the most real things in the universe, the eternal, are also the invisible.