Those of us, who were raised on some kind of catechism, whether it was the pre-Vatican Baltimore Catechism, the Dutch Catechism that was popular during the 60's and 70's, or today's Catechism of the Catholic Church, were taught a list of the attributes of God. This included traits such as: all-present; all-knowing; all-loving, etc. We might know what such characteristics mean, but when it comes right down to it, we must admit that we really have very little understanding of the nature of God. Today's readings confirm this. Each reading in its own way reminds us that God and the ways of God are truly mysterious.
I am a friend of a family that I met soon after I was ordained a priest, more than thirty years ago. They are a lively, faith-filled family with four children and now a whole cadre of grandchildren. A couple of years ago, I visited one of their daughters and her husband at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where their seven-year-old son was in the intensive care unit, a few days away from death. Devin had been born with a rare neurological disorder. He managed fairly well during the first couple of years of his life, but when he was just three years old he suffered a severe stroke. The stroke left him completely incapacitated. His parents and extended family took amazing care of him in the years leading up to his death. Devin's young mother and father (the father is a Navy nurse) were simply remarkable in their fidelity and devotion to their son. His grandparents were also closely involved in his care. During the final days of his life, his parents never left his side in the intensive care unit. It was difficult to tell how much Devin could understand after his stroke. But his parents had their own ways of communicating with him, and he seemed to be tuned in to them. As I visited them in that ICU, it was clear to me that Devin must have realized that he was a beloved son.