The Church asks us to use Psalm 19 as the response to our readings today. This particular psalm has been described as a celebration in two acts. The verses we hear today are from act one. These verses are a hymn to the sun. This might seem a little strange inasmuch as the children of Israel were very careful about ascribing divinity to any of God’s creatures. However, in this instance, the sun is used to present us with an image of God.
The scene opens with the heavens announcing God’s glory. Day and night take up the perpetual song. The message fills all creation, even to the ends of the earth. The world trembles with excitement waiting for the splendid sun to spring from his tent and run from one end of the earth to the other. In this mythological picture we see the sun as the image of God, gloriously reigning over the whole earth, bringing life and warmth everywhere. Creation responds by proclaiming the message without ceasing.
This hymn is an excellent response to the reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans in which he scolds those who have failed to see God’s might and power in the marvels of creation. Knowledge of God is evident to all who will take the time to plumb the depths of God’s glory as it shines forth from the created universe. St. Paul and St. Bonaventure are very much in tune with one another in this reading as St. Bonaventure wrote that all of nature was filled with vestiges of God’s presence.
This time of year is for me, and I think for many people, the most beautiful of the four seasons. If you do not find it beautiful, you will at least have to admit that it is the most colorful. What always impresses me most about fall is that all this beautiful color is present because nature is dying once again, only to come to life again a few months from now. It reminds me that death is really beautiful when it is viewed properly. Death opens up the beauty and glory of God for us as we move from this world to the next.
Yes, the heavens, indeed all of creation, proclaim the glory of God.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator