Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from outer space, there were stories about whether or not he had seen God “up there.” A joke held that the Russian premier asked if he had seen God, and Gagarin said: “Yes, but don’t tell anyone.” When the Russian patriarch asked the same question Gagarin said: “No, but don’t tell anyone.”
God “up there.” Though we smile at what seems naivete, we have within us a sense that God is indeed “up there.” And of course He is, but “up there” in a qualitative, not quantitative sense. God is not one being among other beings, not a fixture in the universe. One could travel to the end of all creation – and still not find God as God, because God is other than his creation, other than the universe. He is superior beyond words, and simply put, He is “up there.” Beyond any “up” we can imagine, and beyond any “there” we can locate: but He is.
And He has spoken to us, through His prophets, in and through His Son. And the message has the same presupposition: we are God’s, and He has priority over all else that is. The world is a fallen place, always turning away from God: man, steward of the world, is in a state of rebellion against God, misled by the pride of the devil, who has a field-day in and through human hearts, who, because of slavery to darkness, want the darkness to be the last word. But it is not. That belongs to God alone, who bids us to “care for orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Is there a God “up there?” Yes. Tell everyone.