Homily for January 29, Saturday of the III week in Ordinary Time
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Two days ago, on my day off, I drove down the Hudson Valley to Yonkers, stopping off at some parks and scenic overlooks to take pictures. It was a memorable drive – with the leafless winter trees, it’s easier to see some of the panoramic vistas of the Hudson Highlands, the Palisades, the Hudson River itself, and other beautiful features of the local geography. The fast-moving clouds made the sunlight seem to move across the landscape, creating striking contrasts between the dark clouds and the white snow, between sunlit hillsides and vast moving shadows. This is a great place to appreciate the majestic splendor of nature!
When we are struck by the greatness of the power and beauty of nature, perhaps it can help us understand the awe that the disciples of Jesus felt when they saw the wind and the sea obey His commands, as we hear in the Gospel today. They were gradually coming to realize that the Man Who was with them in the boat at that moment, Who walked with them over the mountains and through the fields of Palestine, was the the same divine Person through Whom the entire universe was created.
I invite you to go out to one of the places in this city where you can see the river and the hills. Look at the landscape, look up at the sky, and think: the One who created this world, and rules it and shapes it through the laws of nature which He also crafted, came like one of us and walked among us. Even more dramatic: He gives Himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine. We receive Him at Mass, and He is present where the Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle. He has also promised to prepare a place for us in heaven, and a new heavens and new earth that we will see after the Final Judgment.
It’s hard to grasp, or even to imagine; we need the gift of faith to truly believe. May God grant us that faith, so we can confidently say with Zachariah: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has come to His people and set them free!”