November 11, 2011 - Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop

Today's Readings

Our psalm today has been characterized as the only poetic psalm. There are 150 psalms, but the ancient Hebrew taste for poetry was very different from modern poetry. This one psalm stands out as a strange exception. Not that the other psalms are not good, but they are all rather literal. Psalm 19 requires that we use our imaginations.

Psalm 19 calls us to imagine the night sky speaking to us and the day sky announcing a proclamation. Each day says something to us. Every night has a message for us. The earth, the plants, the mountains and the oceans, are all shouting in unison one message: “God made us!” They shout this message in every language and manner of speaking. No translation is needed.

When I see a skyscraper I am impressed. I suppose that many people worked very hard on it and a few great minds designed it. So what should I think when I see a mountain? The night sky is full of billions and billions of stars. How did they get there? The sun, the earth, the moon: all in perfect balance. The tides go in; the tides go out, and no one can explain why. Oh, sure, scientists have explained how: gravity and the moon and all that. “How” is easy enough, but what about “why”? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is everything balanced with more precision than a Swiss watch?

As our first reading today says, anyone who can study all this and not believe in God is empty inside. Anyone who considers the universe to be a giant machine of entropy – the dice rolled and this beautiful earth appeared by chance and life appeared by chance and someday it will be gone and mean nothing at all – anyone who believes that is empty inside.

We believe that God is who he is through faith, but that he is, that God exists, is not of faith. We can see it with our own eyes. This is not all just a coincidence. This is a work of art. This is the handiwork of a master craftsman. This is the masterpiece of a true genius.This universe is beautiful. How much more beautiful must the artist be? This universe is full of energy. How much more powerful must the creator be?