Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels, 29 September 2020

If my understanding of ‘quantum entanglement’ is anywhere near true, then every atom, anywhere, has some connection to every atom anywhere else and, in this sense, everything is alive and affects everything else; but mostly we live entirely discrete lives, as if we were separate beings in charge of our own destiny. A pandemic is a useful reminder of how thin our hold on this discrete reality really is: there are other forces at work of which we have little understanding and even less control. This, however, not only magnifies our helplessness but our holiness, too, in the sense that small acts of love are often all we have to offer, with huge effect. This is, or can be, a partial lifting of that veil that hides the true and deeper nature of reality from us: the traffic of angels between heaven and earth; not angels, of course, as discrete objects but part of that flow of life emanating from God and keeping us in being. Our thin hold on reality then becomes a blessing for, like Nathanael, we become open to the possibility of God, though not without some scepticism, perhaps, as a necessary part of living without guile. Can anything good come from Nazareth? This shows Nathanael struggling with the hidden nature of our ‘quantum entanglement’ and the necessarily symbolic nature of reality, of this ‘thin’ place in which we live and move and have our being – symbolism such as the title ‘Son of Man’ referring back to Jacob’s earlier vision of angels ascending and descending, and his earlier deceit. It’s a symbolism which can kill or cure, as Jesus is only too well aware when he speaks of the ‘Son of Man’ before the Sanhedrin. This, for them, is impossible language and reveals on which side of the curtain or veil they remain, for it’s only in Jesus that this veil is pierced and the true traffic of God between heaven and earth revealed.