The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill
Importance of Being Little
Size matters, even when it’s small. Take, for example, the Galápagos islands. They’re not small nor a problem but the mosquitoes brought there by chartered flights and tourist boats are. Getting its name from the Spanish for ‘small fly’, the mosquito is a real and present danger to the islands’ unique species. Many mosquitoes carry deadly diseases such as avian malaria or West Nile fever. They could endanger even the Galápagos tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions and Darwin’s famous finches.
But small things can do much good too. Take, for example, bacteria. A controversial scientist trying to sequence the human genome (containing 3 billion DNA base pairs) claimed last August that by the end of this year artificial life would be produced in the lab. For some time now he has been trying to produce bacteria that would change coal into natural gas, and algae that would absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into hydrocarbon fuels. Small things can indeed have an enormous impact.
Today’s First Reading (Micah 5:1-4) knows the value of small things too, for it foretells the impact that the emergence of a ruler of Israel from one of Judah’s little clans (5:2) will have. Repeatedly God chooses the small and insignificant in the world’s eyes for very important missions. Advent is a reminder that we, who for the most part are small and insignificant in the world’s eyes, have been chosen for mission too. When at Christmas we celebrate that ‘ruler’s’ birth let us be aware that in a very real sense we celebrate our own – our birth into greatness.