Seeing the wonder around us and within us

Remember losing your first baby tooth? It’s a very traumatic moment for a child — that beautiful angelic smile reduced to a mouthful of gaps. But before too long you understood that those teeth had to go in order for your stronger, more resilient adult teeth to come in.

In primary school, we all believed that girls were yucky and boys were gross. But we eventually discover that girls are pretty nice and boys aren’t that bad to be around.

As a child, school might not have been your favourite thing — you probably struggled with a particular subject or two. But now that you’re an adult you’ve come to realize that the math you hated or the English essay you wrote under duress or the history course you despised are critical to making sense out of the world, to see life in all its complexities and challenges.

As we grow up, even our dreams change: at some point we accept the fact that we will never become the full back for Leinster rugby; instead, we find our life’s purpose in becoming the best doctor or lawyer or teacher or builder we can. The dream of starring on Broadway or in the movies is forgotten once we realize the hard work demanded if we are to become the kind of parent, citizen, and human being we want to be.

And some are lucky enough to meet that special someone who shows us what being in love is all about.

Unless and until we grow beyond our childhood understandings and images, we’ll never be able to live our lives to the fullest and most enriching.

Today’s feast is an invitation to look around us with fresh eyes, eyes that see the wonder around us and within us. And to sense the mystery that lies behind it all – the Father, the Creator of all life, including our very selves; the Son, who teaches us the immensity of God’s love; and the Spirit, the love of God that draws us to him and to each other, the spirit that yearns within us and calls us to completion.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges Nicodemus to move beyond old, incomplete and “child-like” images of God and grow toward an adult faith that recognizes the God who operates out of an unfathomable love that finds no satisfaction in vengeance or retribution against his unfaithful creation — but the God who constantly takes the initiative to be reconciled with us, despite ourselves; the God who is not removed from his creation but constantly present in every act of love and compassion and forgiveness.  May this more complete and “mature” sense of God become the beginning of a new, more affirming and nurturing relationship with the God of all that is good. Today we pray that our eyes may be open to the mystery that lies behind this life.