It is a paradox of faith. We are at the same time so very small and so very great.
If we gaze up at the stars at night and try to visualize how immense is the universe, we start to feel very small. Scientists estimate that there are a hundred billion galaxies out there, and that the universe is over 13 billion years old. In terms of space and time we are so infinitesimally small, like a grain of sand in the Sahara desert.
But then we have the words of our first reading today. St. Peter says that we were ransomed, saved, delivered not by silver or gold but “by Christ’s blood beyond all price.” Christ’s blood is priceless. That makes us priceless, worth more than silver or gold. That’s very great.
But wait. It gets better. By baptism we are made members of the Body of Christ. It doesn’t get any better than that! C. S. Lewis said, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the most sacred object present to your senses.” That includes the “neighbor” you see in the mirror.
However, we are made great not to be set on a shelf and look pretty. We are made great – for service. Jesus tells us today that, “Anyone who aspires to greatness must serve the rest.”
Worth more than silver or gold, a member of the Body of Christ, and called to walk with Christ in a life of service… That’s all gift, given to us by God out of love. No wonder Meister Eckert stated, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/