The term horizon is often defined as where the earth and sky meet. This is actually an apparent horizon or sensible horizon because we see an apparent plane based on our observation point. If we are able to broaden our view and look beyond the present location we are standing on the earth, say from the space shuttle, we could then experience a rational or celestial horizon: where the great circle of the celestial sphere whose plane passes through the center of the earth is parallel to the celestial horizon of a given position. Journeying deeper into space we could discuss event horizons, the boundaries marking the limits of black holes.
Before delving any deeper and getting lost in space, let’s return to earth and today’s Gospel where Jesus stated: “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men” (Lk 9:44). Jesus is presenting the horizon of the cross, the plane where heaven and earth meet, where the physical and the spiritual, where the finite and infinite meet. Many of Jesus’ followers were and still are confounded by the cross. As Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 22-23).
Jesus presented in today’s Gospel his imminent fate, our ultimate horizon, death, and taught through his words and his death that to be free we need to be willing to lose our life to gain it. Our life is not lived until we give it away, until we love unconditionally, until we commit to willing the good of the other. There is so much we can experience and enjoy through experiencing the world around us, but if we only limit ourselves to the mere empirical, only to that which we can experience with our physical senses, we limit ourselves. We are transcendental beings. We have a rational soul which allows us to encounter and experience a different plane of existence and that is of the spiritual. What makes us fully human, alive, and fulfilled is an embrace of both the empirical and the spiritual, an embrace of both Scripture and Tradition, and an embrace of both faith and reason. “For the foolishness of God is stronger than human strength” (I Cor 1:25).
Link for today’s readings: