Today’s the day the scientific community and millions of regular folks across America have been waiting for: the total solar eclipse. The last one to occur was in 1979, and prior to that, the last to be visible from the contiguous 48 states was in 1918.
From my perch here in southwest Ohio, the eclipse is supposed to begin at 1:02 p.m., peak at 2:28:41 p.m., and end at 3:52 p.m. – almost three hours. The sky is clear and we should see a 90% eclipse.
I don’t have any special dark glasses with which to look at the eclipse, nor did I make a pinhole viewer from a shoe box. I’m just sitting here on my front porch waiting to see it get dark in the middle of the day.
Waiting to see if anything special happens when the moon blocks out the sun.
I recall a story of an eclipse which happened about 2,000 years ago that also lasted about three hours.
“It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle” (Lk 23:44-45).
It occurred in Jerusalem as Jesus was dying on the cross – a death demanded by the self-righteous of the time, most notably the Jewish scholars and priests who were blinded by their man-made beliefs to which they were attached and who refused to accept that God had finally sent their Messiah, the Son of Man, as He promised.
Their beliefs blocked out the “Son”.
I recall this morning’s Scripture passages:
“The children of Israel offended the Lord by serving the Baals. Abandoning the Lord, the God of their fathers, who led them out of the land of Egypt, they follow the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the Lord.” (Judges 2:11-12)
“They served their idols, which became a snare for them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.” (Psalms 106: 36-37)
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Matthew 19:21-22)
Each of these passages spoke to me about how our society often puts other things ahead of God and His Son, Jesus, making it easy to turn away from Them. These other things, our “possessions”, our attachments, are the habits and “important” stuff we can’t turn loose of. They’re those things that keep us from focusing on, and spending time with, our Lord.
They, too, block out the “Son”.
One has to wonder if the Church picked these passages specially for today. But, I know they didn’t. I also know it’s not just coincidence. This is the way God works.
Perhaps, then, today, the day the moon eclipsed the sun, would be a good day to think about what things we allow in our lives to eclipse the “Son”, and what it will take to turn loose of them.
“Heavenly Father, I give you thanks for Your great glory. Thank You for this world in which we live with all its wonders – Your Wonders. Thank You especially for the greatest Wonder of all, Your Son, Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me to turn loose of my unnecessary worldly attachments so that I may grow closer to Christ. Amen.”
(Thoughts on the Total Solar Eclipse was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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