Daily Readings Sept. 26, 2015: Zech 2:5-9, 14-15a, Jer 31:10-13, & Lk 9:43-45
A few months back Fr. Satish preached a homily where he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I never wanted to hear the phrase, ‘It’s a mystery’ given as an answer ever again!” He was talking about his time in seminary running up against some of the unanswerable questions about God. I want to use that sometimes infuriatingly over used sentence, “It is a mystery”, as our starting point in drawing some meaning out of today’s gospel.
In the gospel today Jesus told His Disciples that He was going to be handed over to men, and then Luke added, “But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it.” It’s a mystery. But this is what this passage tells us about God and mystery.
Mystery is not a secret. Jesus told them what was happening, but they couldn’t comprehend it. I once read an explanation of the mystery of God that roughly said, “God’s mysteriousness is not that God is hidden like a thief in the dark, but that God is present in a light too bright for our eyes to penetrate.” The Paschal mystery that Christ is referencing here is not some underhanded withholding, but is instead just going over the Apostles’ heads. They are “amazed at his every deed” and yet are hearing the promise of his death. They are holding two ends of a paradox that finds its intersection somewhere in the light of Christ, somewhere in a light too powerful for our eyes to penetrate… in the heart of mystery.
Recognizing mystery is only the first step. Responding is the second. Scripture tells us, “they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” I don’t know why they were afraid to ask about it, but I don’t think we have to be afraid. We can ask the questions as long as we understand what mystery really is. I think we are being called to ask the questions. As disciples, or at least as we strive to be disciples, we need to be ready to hear this answer: “Come, and you will see” (Jn 1:39).
In the face of mystery the Christian is not called to blind faith, but a following faith. Our eyes are open, but instead of being fixed upon answers we are called to fix them upon Jesus, for one day, we believe that he will lead us to the heart of all mystery, an everlasting share in the divine life of the Trinity; a life in the heart of mystery.