Green Time

When we come back to the green time of the year, it reminds us of at least one very important fact.

Green things grow. They burrow quietly and mysteriously into their source of nourishment and moisture. And green things fan themselves out to feel the invigorating sunlight.

Adversities come the way of green things, to be sure. They can suffer some rough strife. Not enough water. Sudden cold snaps. Predators of many kinds, including diligent human hands pulling them up to their deaths. Terrible calamities can befall entire metropolises of green creatures—like a large parking lot being laid down by bulldozer and steamroller.

But as soon as things quiet down, the green things will be at it again, growing in their inimitable, invincible way. Time seems always to be on the side of the green things. Their patience, over long, long periods of time—the patience green things have in calmly and quietly asserting their power to grow: this patience will outlast the era of the automobile. It will outlast all the fleeting human mechanisms of our present age. Someday the green things will re-take every parking lot on earth, and where our cars are parked now, a little dale of ferns will grow.

So it is, dear brothers and sisters, with the power of God’s grace. St. Peter’s first letter reads like a gentle and loving reminder to us of the evergreen-ness of God.

The world may seem to have grown old, decadent, even cadaverous. You may have tired yourself and worn out your own patience. The adversities we face—indeed, they are real. Satan loves to try to lay down parking lots on top of us.

But the love of God continues to pour itself out upon the world—with all the vim and vigor of the first day of creation. Today—May 30, 2012—today has been foreknown by the great Source of all life, foreknown in every detail. God planned that today would be the beginning of the eternal happiness prepared for us from the foundation of the world. Yesterday might have been a great day. On the other hand, yesterday might also have sucked. Doesn’t matter. As far as God’s power to make us grow is concerned, today might as well be Day One.

We just have to burrow a little into the soil, and spread ourselves out a little to the light.

The green things know the truth. Cold spells come and go. Weed-Eaters come and go. Bulldozers come and go. The earth will never run out of nourishing soil. And in the end the sun will shine.

Revealing All Takes Time

When Christ came to the fullness of age and began the decisive work of His pilgrim life, He faced an enormously complex challenge.

He bore in His human hands the power of God. His Sacred Heart beat with divine love for every soul He encountered. He struck fear into the demons, and He dealt them crushing blows.

It pertained to His mission as a man to reveal His divine identity by His words and works. But His particular challenge, as He started out in His ministry, was that for God to reveal Himself to us is more easily said than done.

It is not that God has trouble expressing Himself. It is that we have trouble understanding Him.

It’s not that He is inarticulate. It is that we are obtuse. We are too quick to grasp and hold on for dear life to little things when He has much bigger things to give.

God bestows every benefit we receive. But the greatest benefit of all is God Himself.

So the Lord Jesus healed and exorcised. He benefitted His beloved people with health and psychological peace.

But He could not allow them to think that this was “it.” He did not come to earth to cure people’s colds, miserable as a cold can make a person. Aching sneezing stuffy head fever can’t rest—a bummer, to be sure. But God did not come to the world to do the work of NyQuil. He came to cure people’s tendency towards sin and death.

So, as we read: He unfolded some of His divine power to manifest His identity and His zealous love. But He had to keep moving, keep pushing, keep lifting everyone around Him to the higher levels of spiritual vigor and communion that lead to the transcendent goal.

Yes, I will heal your diseases. Yes, I will feed your hunger. Yes, I will expel the demons who afflict you. Of course I will do these things. I am your Creator Who made you for health and happiness, and I love you and came to help you.

But no, I will not rest here. No, I will not hang up a shingle as your local wonder-worker and settle down in a little house of my own where you can bring your cripples and your lepers for treatment during the office hours I advertise.

No, I have to march on. My main duty is to the truth.

…This week we begin another year of reading our way through the gospels and the other scriptures of our lectionary. Time marches on.

The Lord has the same challenges with us as He did with the residents of Capernaum. We know Him. We know His word. We know His divine identity. But He has more to reveal. We have not grasped it all. He has added another year to our lives for one reason: to teach us some more.