For some people the big news over the past weeks was the discovery of the God particle. Scientists have been working for years and spending billions of dollars to isolate this particle. Back in 1964 a physicist named Peter Higgs wrote an article about a theoretically massive particle of the bosonic type that could be responsible for giving or causing mass not only to itself but to all matter in the universe. Another physicist named this particle the “God Particle” because it is so central to the state of physics today and so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter. Actually this great venture has nothing to do with God. Scientists were looking for the basic particle that explains so many things in creation.
Humanity has made great strides in unraveling the wonders and the mysteries of the universe. Pictures of outer space that come to us from the Hubble and other telescopes placed around the world boggle the mind. Even more wondrous is the fact that these objects we see in the night sky have traveled millions of light years for us to be able to see them. It takes eight minutes for the light and heat of the sun to reach us, imagine the immensity of light years. Some of the stars we see today might now be dead but their lights still reach us.
We are told the universe began with an explosion of energy some 15 billion years ago. We are told too that every bit of energy that existed in that original explosion still exists in some form today. When we see planet earth in relationship to the total universe we show up as just a speck in the vastness of it all.
In our second reading, Paul’s letter to Ephesians, we hear these wonderful words, “before the world began [before the God particle] God chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless in his sight.” According to good pleasure God made us his adopted sons and daughters so that we could praise the glorious grace he has bestowed on each of us. Adopting parents are told to tell their children they were chosen. Each one of us was chosen – and that was before the world began.
A few years ago I was over at the Village Bakery in the plaza having coffee with some friends. One woman said, “this is really interesting; father, you’re Catholic, Lowell, you’re Jewish, I’m an Anglican.” Then she turned to the fourth person in the group and said, “and what are you?” He answered, “I’m nothing.” His answer just hung in the air for a bit and then the conversation went on. I knew he was from a United Church background.
The first reading for the morning Mass the next day was from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – before the world began, God chose us in Christ. St. John tells us, “this is the wonder, not that we love God but that God first loved us and sent his Son to us.”
None of us can say ‘I’m nothing.’ Insecure people, people with a poor self-image imagine themselves to be of no account, un-loved, unimportant. But we are all of great importance, of great value no matter what our faults and failings. God sees beyond our weaknesses and rejoices in our goodness with which we have been blessed. This is a truth which should keep in mind every day of our lives – before the world began – before the big bang, before the God particle – God chose us – everyone here – to be God’s adopted sons and daughters, such was his will and pleasure. For this great gift let us thank God.