Today’s marking of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II will have brought out many photographs. Many of those photographs will have a unique quality—there was just one moment of opportunity to capture one moment in time.
The photograph captures a moment— for those involved at the time, it will reflect back to them not just that one scene, but it will evoke all the memories of that time, all the thoughts, sights and sounds. The single picture will stir memories of all the other memories of those days.
The picture is a reflection—but no matter how good it may be, it is not the reality. It is the reality we seek. As those who lived on through the years will have felt, when they looked at pictures filled with so much, they did not want to lose all of the thoughts and emotions the pictures evoked, they did not want to lose the reality behind the pictures. A picture is but a poor reflection of the reality.
What Saint Paul tells us is that it’s not just the images we create that are a poor reflection of reality; it is our very lives. Paul says to us that this life, these years here are just a foreshadowing of things to come and that it is very difficult while we are here to have a clear view of the great things to come. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face”, he says.
Memories are vital, but what sustains us on days of commemoration is not our reflection on the past, but our hope that the past and the present are but a poor reflection of the future—a future where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, a future where the special moments are with us and can never be taken away. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face”.