Eclipsed by the sun

I had wanted to publish new blog entries after I had fixed up my blog.  But how can I miss an opportunity to write about the solar eclipse?

New York saw a partial eclipse. Outside, I felt as if someone had used a dimmer switch on the sun.  I tried to take a picture with an iPad mini.

eclipse fail
The sun stymied my attempt to capture the partial eclipse on an iPad mini at maximum coverage at 2:44 p.m. EDT on Aug. 21, 2017, in New York. It’s interesting how much light the sun cranks out with the moon blocking 71% of it.

I should have paid for the solar shades.  Or maybe I should’ve looked for the pinhole camera effect among the trees.

pinhole effect
The willow tree outside my family’s house created a pinhole effect of multiple crescent suns to view the partial solar eclipse in New York on Aug. 21, 2017.

While I failed to see the partial eclipse, millions more saw the eclipse (partial and total).

It amazed me that no matter how messed up the world is, we could all stop and peer at the same wonder outside of us.  What if we were amazed every day by something, wouldn’t we be more grateful, more generous and more willing to let go of the unnecessary noise?

With the excitement over the eclipse, I thought about the Virgin Mary.  One of her feast days (The Queenship of Mary) is a day after the eclipse.  Mary has been likened to the moon reflecting the light of the sun.  In the dark moments of our lives, she reflects the hope and light of her son, Jesus.

Mary's candle words

But I would add another part to the analogy.  A moon in a total eclipse reveals the corona, a part of the sun that we don’t see normally and still don’t understand.  In a similar way, Mary highlights these features of Jesus that we wouldn’t usually notice:

  1. His early connection to the Father

“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)

His divinity was always with him instead of being granted to him after the Resurrection like Hercules in Greek mythology.

  1. His human nature and the ordinariness of his early life

Luke mentions twice in Chapter 2 that Jesus grew up.

“And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40)

“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.   And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”  (Luke 2:51-52)

Jesus had a normal childhood.  That debunked some early heresies that denied that Jesus has a human nature.

  1. The scope of Jesus’ helping hand

“When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ ” (John 2:3)

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, walk on water and calm a turbulent sea?  Yup, Jesus can handle this.  But make an emergency wine run?  Isn’t that too small for Jesus?  But the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana demonstrated that Jesus will answer all prayer requests (big and small).

  1. How to be part of Jesus’ family

A visit by Mary and kin evoked this response from Jesus:

“Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)

We are family because we do God’s will and thus imitate Jesus, who followed the Father’s will perfectly.  That family tie finds fulfillment at Jesus’ obedient self-giving on the cross.

“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’  Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.’ (John 19:26-27)

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