A few days ago I held a baby. That might not seem like such a remarkable thing, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a chance to do it. I suspect it’s been a couple of years. Babies don’t frequent monasteries much.
Holding a baby is wonderful. That is, it’s an experience full of wonder. I marveled at his tiny fingernails, perfectly shaped on the end of delicate little fingers. And his full brown eyes, captivated by the lights in the ceiling of the chapel. The incredible softness of his head against my cheek, and the sweet smell of his hair. At first he was squirming, but then he settled in, dropped his head on my shoulder and relaxed. I could feel his breathing. I thought, what a miracle! To be alive! To be breathing, and seeing, and hearing, and touching. Wonderful!
The world is full of wonder. Each day packed with one marvelous mystery after another. But often we miss them. We’re racing around with lots of very important things to do and we’re preoccupied with anxiety and care about what’s happened or what might happen. We ourselves are mysteries so complex and intricate – works of wonder, through and through. But often we miss seeing that.
I thought about this when I read the gospel lesson for today, where Jesus restores a man’s withered hand. What a wonderful thing! A miracle, really. Beyond explanation. A moment when life was given and received. And yet, it seems that many of those present missed it completely. Often we read that people were amazed when Jesus did miraculous things, that they were filled with awe and wonder. But here they are skeptical, critical, suspicious, looking for some way to trip him up. ”Ah, see, he ignores the customs of the Sabbath! There’s good cause to turn him in! We’ve got him now!”
They were witnessing a miracle. A moment of wonder. A moment of beauty and awe. A God moment. And yet they didn’t see how full of wonder it was. They had their own agenda, their own concerns, and these blinded them to the mystery of the moment.
It’s a lesson we must learn. Today, stay awake. Be alert. Be on the lookout for moments of wonder, signs of grace, revelations of beauty, glimpses into the mystery of life, and of God. Or we may well miss the miracle that is right before our eyes.
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