There are a lot of things that often do not make sense in life and in the world around me. At the smallest levels, sub-atomic particles are nothing but random beats of energy. Should one try to measure their mass, one misses their beat and direction. And should one track their beat and direction, their mass become undetectable. It is almost like, now you see them and now you don’t. Hey, they don’t exist at all. And yet, through the mediation of the Higgs boson, these particles acquire their unique mass and charge. They eventually form atoms, which make up molecules, to become cells which have their own unique function to give birth to organisms big and small. Out of all that randomness comes meaning and function.
Since time immemorial, men have looked up to the heavens and have been awed by the beauty, symmetry and and order out there. They have seen certain stars always together in a cluster and gave these constellations wonderful, even mystical, names – the Pleiades being my favorite. The ancients marked the passing of the seasons through the movement of the stars. They mapped their voyages using the stars as their guides. And yet, it is pure chaos out there. New stars are constantly being born in one massive nuclear explosion after another. Old stars collapsing in one energy sapping implosion after another. And all of these events happening while all of these colossal bodies are hurtling through space at speeds unimaginable here on earth, expanding the fabric of space in the aftermath.
On the earthly scheme of things, we know it is better to build than to destroy and yet we seem to be hell-bent to destroy the one planet that is our home. We know that life is precious and yet we do many things to wantonly destroy it. We know that we cannot live alone and need others and yet we would exclude so many people from our lives. Then there are the perennial questions of “Why do good people suffer while the bad ones prosper?”, “Why is our love sometimes reciprocated with hate and anger?” “Why do good people often die young?”
While I mull these questions, I also come across this particular saying from Jesus. Jesus, meek and mild? The humble, peaceful and loving teacher? And yet here He is speaking of setting the world ablaze, wishing not to bring about peace but to wield the sword and bring about divisions. These are tough and confusing words for one like me who would want to be an honest disciple and follower of this Jesus. And He does not turn around and try to mitigate what He just said by explaining His words as He often does His stories and parables.
I think of the random particles eventually coming together to form and give birth to life. I think of the endless explosions among the stars to eventually give rise to the magnificent galaxies and constellations that we look up to in awe. I think of people becoming better and stronger after going through pain and suffering. I think of Jesus forging love out of anger and hatred, drawing goodness from the imperfect and the incomplete, teaching us that light is stronger than the darkness and that life is stronger than death. Indeed, out of the chaos and randomness, God calls out the light and then there is life.
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
~ Psalm 33
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”