32nd Friday in Ordinary Time, November 12, 2021, Feast of St Josaphat
Wis 13:1-9, Ps 19:2-5, Lk 17:26-37
There is a great line in the Search program from episode 3, God, looking down from heaven says: “Did you not notice everything?” The writer of the book of Wisdom hits this statement right on the head of the nail. How can man, so busy looking around, miss seeing God in the midst of everything? Man was so busy studying everything around him, that he missed the point. Where did all this come from? One can be very smart, especially about our physical space, but yet still be very foolish and not see the truth. The author was making this point known and reminding those around him how much better our Lord is than the things around them.
For us to look around and not see the beauty of God is foolishness. We are so distracted and busy today that we miss the most important part of our lives, our relationship with God. As the psalm cries out, “The heavens declare the Glory of God!” we hide our heads in our phones and declare the glory of social media. We are so fixed on someone else’s fake life, that we forget our own, and forget to see the beauty God created in ourselves and in each other. Driving home the other night, I just marveled in the beauty of the sunset. Yes, it was created by the dust from the farmers harvesting crops, but the beauty was something to behold. How could I not see God in that beauty?
St Josaphat, whose feast day is today, was also inspired by the great beauty we have in this world. He has said that when he gazed upon the icons in the church as a child, he felt a spark of fire leave the wounded side of the crucified and enter his own heart, filling him with joy. St Josaphat found the beauty of God and it affected him forever. St. Josaphat was born in 1580 in Lithuania. His parents belonged to the Eastern Rite Church and so he was brought up learning about God through the icons. Because he was in or near the Polish commonwealth, there was a heavy Roman Catholic influence on the people and there were loud cries for unity with Rome. St Josaphat felt very strongly that in order for the Church to be whole again, the Eastern and Roman churches need to be unified again. He fought tirelessly for this to happen and eventually became the Archbishop of Plock.
However, because of his unification efforts, his advisories rose up against him and he was brutally martyred on November 12, 1623. Before his martyrdom, he stated, “I rejoice to offer my life for my holy Catholic Faith. Grant that I be found worthy, Lord, to shed my blood for the union and obedience to the Apostolic See.”
St Josaphat sought the Lord, he sought the beauty of our creator, and never gave up. Instead of division, he sought unity, instead of foolishness, he sought wisdom. St Josaphat took the time to notice everything, to see God in His fullness and beauty. Let’s hope we can do the same.