The reason we have the Bible, and the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. The reason we have faith at all - and come here week after week to nourish our faith – is because God loves us. And God wants to be in a relationship with us.
A relationship which God does not want to force upon us - but one that we freely embrace and nurture.
God loves us. And God wants to be in a relationship with us - and so God is continually revealing to us who God is and what God’s love is like.
That’s why, as St. Paul tells us, there was a covenant, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
why there were patriarchs, and from them, the ultimate expression of God’s love: the sending of Christ to dwell among us.
God loves us. And God wants to be in a relationship with us - and just like in our earthly relationships - so to with our relationship with the divine - there needs to be communication - in order for the relationship to be nurtured and to grow.
Sometimes God communicates with us in a way that is powerful and unmistakable– like Peter, James and John experienced in the Transfiguration of Jesus last weekend.
Or the communication may not be in thunder and earthquakes as often happened in the Old Testament -
although if we can stand in awe before the wonders of nature - we certainly can hear God communicating to us.
God may speak to us through a special healing or a prayer answered that we never thought possible - as some of you, I know, have recently had happen to you.
These moments are worth treasuring. They are important to hold onto and remember when it seems God is quiet – for one of God’s favored ways of communicating with us is in — silence.
Like the prophet Elijah, we often need to quiet our lives so we can discover God in the depth of our own hearts. And when we are able to let the Lord take us by our hand and lead and guide us - our eyes are usually a bit more open -
and then we are able to see and hear God all over the place - communicating love, care, and concern, and forgiveness, and acceptance – to us.
When I was preparing my homily this week, I came across a reflection on today’s readings by a Chicago priest: Fr. Dominic Grassi – who is not only a pastor but also the author of several books: a couple are – Still called by name: why I like being a priest // and// Living the Mass: how one hour a week can change your life.
Fr. Dominic writes in a homily: one of the most popular nicknames for our city of Chicago is the “windy city”. Most people think the name comes from the sometimes very strong winds that blow into the city from Lake Michigan.
But, he said, Chicago was dubbed the “windy city” because of its history of long-winded politicians who would promise voters everything during a campaign – and give them very little after elected.
Now I don’t want to doubt Fr. Dominic’s words – but they do lead me to ask the question - why, then, isn’t every city in the nation referred to as the windy city??
Anyway, Fr. Dominic then applied this “windy city approach” to the Church. Currently, he thinks, people have deep concerns about the church – why not women priests?
Why is their little accountability for bishops, priests, and others - especially when they mess things up. . .
How are we going to continue to sustain the buildings that have been built over the centuries - with fewer numbers of Catholics to fill them?
What happened to all the religious women that used to staff our schools?
Or the question on many minds of parents: how can I get my adult children to go to Mass?
Many people, including myself from time to time - are self-appointed experts on just about every problem in the Church and have a solution for every problem. . . We wouldn’t have these problems if people would just listen to us – or do things our way.
But sometimes all our talking and problem solving, especially if we dwell only on the negatives – can get in the way of living out the Gospel of Jesus in our lives.
Perhaps the readings for today are telling us not to be so “windy”. After all, Elijah finds God not in the strong wind, or the earthquake – but in a tiny whisper.
The wind scares the apostles to the point where Peter almost drowns and needs Jesus to save him. And so Jesus calms the winds.
God loves us. God wants to be in a relationship with us – and so God communicates with us: sometimes in a strong and heavy wind. Sometimes in the crushing of rocks or in earthquakes or in fire – however those things come crashing into our lives.
But most times - God comes in the silence.
Fr. Dominic concluded his reflections by saying: maybe if we talked less and listened more – it would be better for us and for the Church.
So following that advice - let’s take a few moments to quiet ourselves – and to listen – and let God speak to us.
Moments in time...