A person might ask a question like this, while staring at the sky, in a reflective moment:
In all the great sweep and roll of time, from the first moments when sun and stars coalesced, through the endless ebbing and flowing of the ocean tides; from the building of the pyramids and the Great Wall of China all the way through the Clinton E-mail Scandal of 2015; in the whole whirling, slapdash confluence of this and that happening, has there ever been a place, a moment, and a person who did the one thing that really matters?
In other words: Day and night, rice growing in paddies and cornstalks in the fields, dogs barking at passing runners, little creeks burbling down mountainsides, clouds forming and dissipating, people eating and talking to each other, stuff happening and happening and happening, not going anywhere in particular, not revealing much of a deep meaning exactly, time just loping along, like an antelope across a field: events, events, events; March Madness 2013, March Madness 2014, March Madness 2015…
In this whole welter, is there one event that makes the whole thing make sense? One event that stands at the center, so that light shines from it over everything else, and we can see: Yes! These other things all mean something! Being born and growing up, eating sandwiches, and driving here and there, learning how to tie a tie–all these things mean something, because this one thing has happened!
After all, what if there were no such event? What if nothing had ever happened that really mattered? I mean, it matters whether or not Benjamin Netanyahu controls the Israeli parliament–it matters, but does it matter a whole lot to us? Only a little bit, really. And it matters if I burn my toast in the morning, or knock over my coffee cup–but, in the grand scheme of things?
If all of history were just endless politics and daily routines and sports’ seasons and new tv shows; if it were all just an endless cycle of relatively insignificant events… What if, when something so monumental as a birth or a death occurred, there was nothing but facebook to try to understand the meaning?
(This is my new theme for 2015: Why going to Church is so daggone important.)
We are not born knowing about it. We learn it in church. We find it in church.
The center and heart of all history. The thing that has happened. And the decisive event of all of history is never far away from us, never separate from our little lives. Because, at Mass, we are right there, right there with Jesus, at the event of all time.