Dear Parishioners, While I am on my annual July vacation, I once more offer for your consideration a series of Reflections. This week’s reflection is by Rev. Rene McGraw, OSB, Associate Professor, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. —Msgr. Richard
In the beginning…
In the early 1970s, there was a popular commercial for CocaCola where a group of young people from every race and nation sang the words: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” That was the picture of the Garden of Eden. Perfect harmony. The soil, the seed, the birds, the animals, woman and man, all singing one song of glory to God, all reflecting the glory of God. And God walking in the midst of them.
And then came sin. The world was no longer in perfect harmony. All became dissonance. The soil was used up. War was everywhere. People sought after their immediate desires and did not look out for the earth.
And so as Paul says, “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Sprit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” The earth and the humans, animals and birds—all created things—long for the return to paradise and perfect harmony.
The Lord goes about casting his Word into the fallow soil, watching to see if it will sprout with a bit of its old glory and harmony. God scatters the seed everywhere. But some soil is so depleted that it can barely push up a stalk or two of glory. Some seed gets trampled by animals and humans. Occasionally the soil is too tired to grow everything. The rains do not come. People kill people in war, and so there is no growing season, no harvest.
But there are fertile places where the seed is springing up and growing well; places where the earth and the animals and the birds of the air and the beauty of the fields and the love of human for human and new ways of resolving conflicts, where these are growing up. Ah! There the glory of the Lord begins to sprout forth in all of creation and the dream of perfect harmony grows again. Or, as Gerard Manley Hopkins so eloquently wrote: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
The song of that CocaCola commercial needs to be our song. As a community we must march back towards paradise so that all creation may help to reveal the depth of God’s grandeur. For the seed of the word of God is waiting for the right nourishment to sprout and make visible the paradise that lies hidden.
—Rene McGraw, OSB