Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious
(Wisdom 13:1-9; Luke 17:26-37)
On cold autumn days one may be inclined to worship the sun. Its warm rays bring a modicum of comfort, and its brightness cheers up the prospect of a long, cold winter. Who is not grateful for these gifts? There are further ways in which the sun benefits humans. It brings about the growth of food and provides energy for a plethora of artificial comforts. Nevertheless, today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom critiques sun worshippers as not looking deep enough into reality.
Wisdom was written to assure the Jews of ancient Alexandria of the worth of their religious tradition. It finds wanting the tenets of scientific inquiry when compared with the implications of biblical faith. Heavenly bodies, it concludes, are hardly worth human credence. One has to look beyond material being to find the omnipotent, spiritual cause for existence.
Today scientists do not look to the heavens to find their God. Many do not believe in any first cause at all. If such a creator exists at all, they say, it could hardly be the personal God of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We, however, know by faith that God loves each one of us even those whose lot is very difficult. We have seen in Jesus our God’s gracious touch. Now, as today’s gospel has it, we await his coming to prove us right.