7th Sunday Ordinary Time
February 20, 2011
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.
from 1 Cor3:16-23 (2nd reading at Mass)
The world is not as it appears to be on the surface. We as Christians know this to be true: God exists; the angels exist; our loved ones continue to live, but not where we are. We know all of these things from Scripture, and although we have constant interactions with our guardian angels, who are always with us, they seldom manifest themselves to us. This is so that we will have the opportunity to live by faith: once we have seen them, a life of faith will never be possible again. But at times, when God wills it, we do have encounters with the Lord that the worldly, those who scoff at God and never listen to scripture, are certain does not exist.
I had an extraordinary encounter some time ago. Tuesday was a rather atypical day filled with sick calls as well as a burial. I had all the places I needed to visit on sheets of paper stuffed in my pocket, and there were many of them. The last call was to the home of an elderly lady who, as it turned out, was actively dying. As I prepared to head for her house, I suddenly found to my dismay that her name, address and phone were missing! No one at the office knew the details, and I couldn’t remember a thing! I frantically searched my pockets again and again, even going so far as to turn each of them inside out, because no priest wants someone to die without the sacraments because of a goof like this! Where had I left those papers?
When I got back to the office, it was as I expected. No one had a clue who this lady was that was dying. How many of us have been in situations where we could go no further, even though the need was urgent? So I offered the situation to God.
Then, instinctively, I checked my jacket pocket again, the same one I had turned inside out a half hour earlier, even though it was manifestly useless to do so, and there in my pocket were the (large) papers with this lady’s name and address! I will go to my death saying that those papers were not in that pocket and yet now, inexplicably, suddenly, there they were! What can we make of this?
I believe an unseen hand was at work, (perhaps this lady’s guardian angel); God wished that a priest be present at her death. I have had this kind of experience before, as have many other priests. I am equally sure that this same “unseen hand” has helped you innumerable times, though you probably did not notice it! All of this can be accomplished without our being made aware of it, but I believe that God permits this at times to give encouragement to those facing grave difficulties in their lives right now. God really does love you and is working many miracles in your life, most of which you are not even aware of!
Pay attention to those times when God permits you to see, obliquely, what he is doing for you. If we only knew how much assistance God gives us and how great is the unseen world around us, we would never cease to praise God! The “world” is totally unaware of this, but we Christians know the truth.