Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 4-20-23

2nd week of Easter, Thursday, 4-20-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading Act 5:27-33; Ps 34:2, 9, 17-18,19-20; Gospel Jn 3:31-36
Theme: Remember Your Place in The World.

Sometimes we forget our place in this world. We understand so much more about our world than our ancestors, that when we look back at what they understood of the world we can almost laugh. Things like the world being flat or bloodletting to cure illnesses. We know so much more now that we can start to begin to think we have the universe figured out. I am sure at some point in the distant future, people will be saying the same thing about us and chuckling at what we knew. But with all this gain in knowledge, we must remember our place in this world and that there is someone else infinitely more knowledgeable than us.

The funny thing about gaining knowledge and intellect is that sometimes we can become dumber as we get smarter. Because of our knowledge, we can forget who created us and how to live life for our neighbor instead of ourselves. We as humans are endowed with the intelligence to discover and create so we can unwrap creation for the betterment of humanity, for the joy and peace it can give, and for the edification of our brothers and sisters. But knowledge can lead to selfishness, pride, and a loss of humility which can make us focus on ourselves instead of others or our creator.

But who has ordained this ability to discover and create in us, and how should we be using these gifts? Who sets in motion the universe in such a way that we are able to peel the layers back one by one and discover their beauty? The answer is not staring us back in the mirror, but rather God Himself.

God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end. He has given us all the abilities in our human state to discover His beautiful creation for the love of Him. All we have to do is listen, learn, and know that we are not God.

The Sanhedrin had long ago forgotten this, and they determined, knowingly or unknowingly, that they were, in a way, God. When their Messiah finally did come, they rejected him because of their arrogance in thinking they knew how He would present Himself, and so Jesus was not the Messiah. Even after Jesus had left this earth, and His disciples were proclaiming His death and resurrection everywhere, they still did not understand what had taken place because of the arrogance of their knowledge and intellect.

 The lesson for us is not to rely on our intellectual expectations of who we are vs. who God is. We just need to know that we are not God, and that God is above all, even our knowledge and intellect.

We find this truth in the Gospel of John today when he writes, “The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all.” God is above all, and in today’s times, we best understand this sooner than later.

Jesus was rejected by the leaders of His time and is still being rejected today. Yet, His Gospel message, as promulgated through His Church, is as strong and true as the day He conferred it upon Saint Peter. The apostles finally grasped all that Jesus has taught them, and they were bold, even unto death, to proclaim it. The Church stands against the gates of hell because the Holy Spirit fills men and women with courage and faith to withstand the pride and self-righteousness of the world today and keep Christ’s message of faith, hope, and love alive and well. These inspired people know their place in the world and who created it.

Speak boldly for Christ and do not let the world, through our knowledge and intelligence, convince you that you are your own god. We do not know everything. Some things are still a mystery, but God is not Remember your place in this world as a disciple of a loving God who created you and sacrificed His only Son as a gift to save you. We all would do well to know that none of us are worthy of being given such a gift.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL