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There is a rock in front of St. John Seminary where I teach. I am assuming it was there since the last ice age and it will probably be there at the start of the next ice age. If we drew a line from one ice age to the other, we would have a timeline that represented the existence of this rock. Somewhere on this timeline would be my existence. But my existence is not a line it is a small dot. I appear and then in a puff, I am gone. Let’s look at space.
Dad went to the deep woods of Maine to hunt and I went with him. I do not hunt. I fish, so we called it the blast and cast getaway. Dad always gets up at three in the morning so he can be in the woods at first light. After he put his gear in the truck he came back to the camp and woke me up. Peter, get out of bed and take a look at the stars outside. At first, I did not want to get out of bed and go out into the cold, but I am glad I did. I have never seen so many stars in my life. I came back into the house and I asked where they all come from. He responded, “Never mind where they came from, who put them there?” The experience of seeing the universe in one glance made me realize that I am just a speck in the universe. How is it possible that a speck in the universe and dot on a timeline could have any value? How could a dot and a speck be important or make any significant impact? That is the question the Israelites had when they returned to Jerusalem.
The city was destroyed and they returned to rebuild it. Yet, things were not going very well. There was a drought and no food. They were too busy trying to find food to fix buildings. There were pesky neighbors who were walking all of them. They had no city walls to protect them. So the Israelites wondered and questioned God. They were no longer a nation, reduced to only one tribe. The one tribe had only one city that was not even rebuilt. How could they possibly be valuable? How could they be important, or make any significate impact on the other nations in such a condition? Isaiah answers their question. Demand determines value. The more something is in demand the more its value goes up.
I needed a set of casters for the scaffolding because we are changing the light fixtures. Casters are expensive and I would have to wait for weeks for delivery. So I called Dad. He had a set in the basement of his barn. They have been sitting there for years rusting. Casters that were discarded, forgotten, and covered in cobwebs, are now valued and important. How is that possible? because I needed them.
How is it possible that a destroyed city and nation or a speck in the universe or a dot on a timeline or anyone who is forgotten or discarded by society can have any importance or value? The only possible way any of us can have any value is if God wants us. Demand determines value. We hear that God loves us from Scripture, we read that God loves us like a mother loves her child. We see that God sent His Son into the world because of love. The cross. We hear it all the time. So much that the fresh and inspired ears that hear it become dulled by the effects of familiarity. So the next time you hear that God loves us, I want you to think and understand that demand determines value. The more God loves us the more valuable we become. And if we are valuable, then we should live like we are valuable.Back to All Homilies