Today, the church’s liturgical calendar goes back into ordinary time. There is a feeling of getting back down to earth after celebrating some of the great feasts of the Christian faith. In succeeding weeks we had Pentecost which highlights the handing over of Christ’s Spirit to the community; the Holy Trinity which confirms the unity and diversity at the heart of all life and the Body and Blood of Christ which emphasises that believers become brothers and sisters in a family united together in one bond of love and respect.
We are approaching mid summer and nature is in the full bloom of life. Everywhere we look there is a unique imprint of the many faces of life looking back at us. They look so much better in the full light of the bright sun which we have been enjoying now for days on end. There is a familiar garden sign which quotes lines by Dorothy Gurney: ‘The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, you are nearer God’s heart in the garden than anywhere else on earth’
Just a few short weeks ago, at the beginning of May, the first shoots of new life were still appearing from the earth. Now they have come to the flowering stage and they are looking lovely. They respond all the more when they are fed and well watered. It is one thing to know about flowers; it is something else entirely to grow them and experience them developing their own unique beauty. ‘Ordinary things wear lovely wings’ This line appears in Patrick Kavanagh’s ‘Spring Day’. The same poem ends with the words: ‘Come all youthful poets and try to be more human’ These words could apply to old poets too.
The readings for the 10th Sunday in ordinary time take us back through a reading from Genesis 3:9-15 to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are hiding and seeking to blame others for making them disobey by eating fruit from the tree of knowledge which God had forbidden them to eat. That act of disobedience became the doorway to enlightenment which the human being is still exploring. It is referred to in the great Proclamation of Easter as ‘a happy fault’ and ‘a truly necessary sin of Adam destroyed completely by the Death of Christ’. In the second reading, (Cor 4:13 – 5:1) we find Paul speaking of the same enlightenment as grace in Jesus Christ which gives glory and thanks to God the more it is multiplied. This grace operates from within and follows a path through the visible world to the invisible and eternal.
Finally, in the reading from Mark’s gospel: Mark 3: 20 – 35 Jesus is on a journey to a new way of understanding beyond all human expectations. He is acting in unconventional ways, casting out demons and challenging the position of those in power. Even his family are worried and want to bring him back to the safety of home where they can look after him. He refuses their attention because there is a much bigger plan in his mind and heart for the whole human family. The garden where the story began has now become a universe of infinite horizons and unimaginable possibilities.