Sunday, 15 July 2012
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Shaftesbury
on Eph 1:1-14; Mk 6:7-13; Amos 7:12-15.
This week a previously secret government report on UFOs and possible aliens was made public. Such things frequently attract a lot of attention.
Many of you will remember the 1990s TV series ‘The X-files’ that was about government dealings with aliens, and claimed to expose a sinister “Masterplan” -a grand conspiracy between aliens and government agencies to eventually set up Earth as an alien colony.
A more recent example, right now in the cinemas, is yet another re-working of this notion of secret alien plans at work in human history in the film Prometheus which envisages that aliens have left ancient secret messages in various records of pre-historic cultures. So the movie characters set off to find “the origins of humanity” in the stars.
And of course, these are just a couple examples of the many alien conspiracy theories that claim to uncover the meaning of human existence in secretive hidden plots: Plots by aliens, plots by freemasons, plots by huge financial companies, revelations made in star signs, or messages telling us that we must prepare for the awakening of galactic consciousness at a date written in crop circles.
One might be tempted to dismiss all this as junk, and say that it is simply an example of G.K.Chesterton's saying that when people reject God, when they start believing in nothing, they end up believing in anything!
But actually all these books and writers point us to a simple fact: People want to know the truth about the plan of life because knowing it is the only way that people can hope to get the best out of life. And most people can see enough to see that there IS some plan in life. Seeing how other people are seeking should remind us Christians about the precious truth that we already know, because we do know the plan and purpose of human life.
In our second reading today, Saint Paul tells us that God's masterplan was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has revealed the mystery of His purpose, and given us the knowledge of the plan of salvation. This plan is no longer something hidden, it has been revealed by Christ so that we can experience it. It's not a plan that is deviously complex, it's a plan that is simple in its aim, and can be briefly stated.
Even before the foundation of the world, God had chosen each one of us and destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ. We were made to share in the one sonship of Jesus Christ -the son of the Father. Christ became incarnate so that by joining our humanity to His divinity, we too might become heirs of heaven. This plan was disrupted by our sin, but Christ redeemed us by His blood. And this redemption becomes effective in us through our incorporation into Christ by faith and the sacramental life in the Church. This is how the Father's plan for us to become His adopted children was realised.
This is the REAL plan that is at work in the world we live in. It's a doctrine that is so familiar to us that we might easily lose sight of its significance. God didn't just give us the gift of life and then left it at that. He didn't choose to later abandon us when we had sinned and abandoned Him. He didn't choose to forgive us but leave us with just an earthly life with no hope of heaven.
God's plan for us is that we should be His adopted children, heirs of heaven. This is the plan and purpose to our lives. None of the animals share this glory, not even the angels have this honour. Only WE have it offered to us in Christ Jesus. Each of us is chosen and called just as certainly as the prophet Amos was called in our first reading and the Twelve Apostles were called in today’s Gospel text. This is the plan at work in creation, once hidden, but now made known to us. Our happiness lies in following this plan.
Back to where I began. If you want to know the secret government plans about what to do if they find alien visitors, then you can now read it online.
If you want to know what happens to the people who go to the stars to find “the origins of humanity” then you can go to the Salisbury Odeon and watch the film Prometheus.
If you want to know the details of the X-files’ masterplan then you can watch it on endless re-runs on SKY television.
But if you want to know the REAL masterplan, God's masterplan, the one revealed in and by Jesus Christ, then we need only recall the words of Saint Paul, "Before the world was made, He chose us, chose us in Christ... that we should become His adopted sons"(Eph 1:5).