13 February 2006: Monday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time
Mark 8, 11-13: The Unexpected Sign

The Gospel tells us that those who expected the Messiah looked for extraordinary signs: a lightning comes from the east and the west (Mt. 24: 27), the coming of war and astonishing salvation by the Messiah, and signs that defies the laws of nature. Even in our present age, there are extreme groups predicting the end of the world --- the second coming of Christ in the end of days --- with extraordinary events: a ‘chastisement’ worse than the flood & fire from heaven (Marian Movement of Priests, 15 September 1987), three days of darkness (American Traditional Catholic Church), a ring of fire eclipse in Europe and the Middle East (, major catastrophes, etc. For Jesus, they were looking for the Messiah in the wrong places: that the best sign for the Messiah was right before their eyes. To Jesus, the proof of the presence of God is everywhere: literally, right before our eyes.

Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ said of the world: It is charged with the grandeur of God. And another poet, John Charles Earle (1601-1665) wrote the following to affirm that God is indeed everywhere.

Wide fields of corn along the valleys spread;
the rain and dews mature the swelling vine;
I see the Lord is multiplying bread;
I see Him turning water into wine;
I see Him working all the works divine
He wrought when Salemward his steps were led;
the selfsame miracles around Him shine;
He feeds the famished; he revives the dead;
He pours the flood of light on darkened eyes;
He chases tears, diseases, fiends away;
His throne is raised upon these orient skies;
His footstool is the pave whereon we pray.

Ah, tell me not of Christ in Paradise,
for He is all around us here today.

Thus, St. Ignatius exhorts all of us: See God in all things. Finding the extraordinary in the ordinariness of life.

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