Homily – August 27, 2017

In this particular section of Paul’s letter to the Romans he is trying to straighten out Gentile Christians who thought that they had replaced the Jewish people as God’s elect. Paul insisted that the Jewish people were and still are God’s people. Paul says of the Jewish people; to them belong the covenant, the adoption, the glory, to them belong the patriarchs and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah. Even though the Jewish people as a whole rejected Jesus, their rejection is a blessing for the Gentiles who do accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Then Paul breaks into a song of wonder ‘O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgements and how inscrutable his ways.’ The disobedience of the Jewish people, sad though it was, became a blessing for the Gentiles.

There can be times when our lives can be so messed up, so confusing. Personally we may be faced with sudden illness, we may suffer the loss of our independence, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the struggle to make ends meet, worries over the work possibilities of sons and daughters. When we think of world problems; the exploitation of the working poor, governments who deny the delivery of food and medicine to starving millions in Yemen and Somalia and other places, the civil wars and those who make billions of dollars supplying both sides with weapons, the blind refusal to admit our human input into climate change, the list goes on and on.

Is it any wonder we ask, ‘Who is running the show?’

God is and God knows what God is doing. Scripture asks, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been his counsellor?’

Someone once said that looking at our personal lives or the state of the world in general is like looking at the back of a tapestry, all we see is a mass and muddle of pieces of threads, we have no idea of what it all means. But when the tapestry is turned around we see it as a work of beauty and design – until then it had no meaning at all.

Theologians and biblical scholars reflect on the ways God works in salvation history. But for all their knowledge and insight they come to realize that the riches and wisdom of God are always too deep to penetrate. God’s judgements and ways are unsearchable. No theologian has ever known the mind of God.

We stand in awe before the wonder of God’s good creation, we stand in awe at the mercy of God we celebrate at this Mass – God so loved the world God sent his son into the world, not to condemn it, but that through him the world might be saved. Facing such a wonder and mystery all we can say is, ’glory and praise to the Lord our God.