And then I wrote… The year 2009 was the International Year of Astronomy: 400 years since Galileo first gazed at the sky through a telescope, and 40 years since humans first set foot on the Moon. In its honor, the Redemptorist Press invited me to write a series of reflections on issues of religion and science for the Sunday bulletins that are distributed in churches throughout the United Kingdom.
As it happens, the days of the week in 2009 match those of 2020 (after this year's leap day) and the liturgical calendar also matches; thus, both in 2009 and 2020, the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time falls on 5 July. Here's what I wrote for the first reflection:
We all learned in school that the world is round. But, day to day, each of us lives in a much narrower universe. We look to the horizon and see only a flat expanse, a few buildings or trees, with ourselves at the center of it all. There’s the dome of the sky overhead; but we rarely notice it. Instead, the most important locations in our personal universe are where we sleep and eat, where we work, or where we entertain ourselves.
We live our lives without ever knowing that we’re walking on the surface of a sphere… much less, that this globe which seems so big to us is but an insignificant speck orbiting an average star in an average galaxy, one of billions of such stars and billions of such galaxies. And, indeed, you might ask: do we need to know? The writer of the first chapter in Genesis...
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