We live in a world that contains human-level things and those that are God-level. Centuries ago, when people did not understand something, they put it above on the God level: that it was God doing it. As scientific learning increased, less and less was ascribed to God above.
Now there is talk of some who seem to find that the world began without dependence on any God-power. Such theories are put forward on the basis of various discoveries, but none of these face the contradiction of how energy force can be at work in world-wide vacuum where nothing is in existence.
In our individual world we have the two levels. Human pride and other such forces like to edge themselves into the God-level space and assert its own force and make its own rules of control of right and wrong. The humility of religious faith and right reason give us assurance that we live in a world that contains both the human level and that which belongs to the level of God. The forces of self-pride stand ready for everyone to use it. In regard to things of human level, we can gain the knowledge and understanding to make ones own choice. But even at this earthly level, we are at a loss to choose every control over ourselves, as for example in the matter of sickness and accidental injury.
Yet human pride edges forward seeking to gain a say-so. How much more imbalance can be present in matters of the God-level in our lives?
How often in a closed car, moving at 55 miles an hour, we see a fly. Inside the closed car, the fly can move comfortably and land where it chooses. It is in two worlds, so to say: the one inside the car, and the larger world outside, in which the car speeds along. If a car speeds along, and the car window is opened, the fly cannot deal with the strong wind coming in.
We are like the fly in the closed car. How often we human beings make efforts to “open the windows,” to loosen safety restrictions that keep life moral and good in virtues. What happens to rules keeping marriages to be lasting and virtuous? Is it God who wants schools closed because of low count of students?
It seems quite definite that the Prophet Isaias tells us, in the first reading, that God bestows his own authority on persons amongst us: “On that day I will summon my servant…and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants and to the house…. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder…. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.”
This text indicates that our families will have someone God will depend on “to be a place of honor for his family” as a way to heaven.
The second reading tells us that our minds and souls need to be kept busy with God’s place in our lives, dealing with the mystery of his close presence in our daily lives. “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and unsearchable his ways!” We must grow in our efforts to grow in knowing God’s real reason for our lives. “For from him and through him and for him are all things.”
In the Gospel Jesus asks the disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They reply with several names. Then he said, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter was the first to reply, “You are Christ the Son of the living God.” In reply, Jesus said, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church.” Jesus goes on to explain, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” The keys of the kingdom of heaven will be given to him and whatever he binds or looses on earth will be bound and loosed in heaven. Here then the Lord Jesus Christ bestows divine powers upon Peter and the Church of which he was to be the head at the founding of the one true Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church.
Thanks be to God that we are truly bound up in it!
Homily by Rev. Anselm Boeke
Celebration of his 90th Birthday, & 65th year of priesthood
Saint Mary Parish
August 24, 2008