Ascension of the Lord Reflection
The Great Commission: And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’.
We want to feel good, to look good, to present images of successful and blessed families, loving children, and beloved grandchildren… and so we neatly re-stage decades of memories. These are the hues of choices made and even the ones we refused to make. These are the choices that rearrange the sand at the edge of the sea. These are the choices that continue to bridge time and space into the new tomorrow.
As I get into my motor car, can I see that distant oil spill and the black feathers of death; absurd! I thought only of them and so my dreams lived on unknowing where they will end; fettered by my own desires, I left them dead; a needle, a bottle as addictive as the glittering stage mask.
You see, there is never a choice without a destination. These are the destinations that others will reach long after that last choice made on that last morning of my last day.
Call them the sins of the fathers and the mothers, if you must. This is our woundedness. So many choices and tangled roots are based always on my love; how can this be the wrong path that leaves skid-marks of sin on their soul.
My fish love that ensnared the butterfly of freedom. Yes, my destination follows in the footprints of the mothers and the fathers that went before me. So also I will leave footprints for others to follow. I, like them, had become confused so that I thought that my choice and my will is the ultimate endeavour.
We forgot the will of the one who is the source and destination of all Love and blessing. In pride and self will we travelled a different route that other feet will follow.
So many raised voices in the world, loud and powerful voices, all the many vested interests that assert that nature’s only role is to promote our human prosperity. Others loudly endorse the other extreme and seem to worship the creation, rather than the Creator.
As Franciscans, we proclaim Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, but are we not also complicit in the tears of creation in the glare of increased wealth and consumption. My voice may be silent, yet there is the quiet voice of the accuser each time I turn on a light switch, turn the ignition of my car, and use the latest financial commodity, the water of life that flows into our homes.
Each one of us is called to Bless the whole of creation as we ourselves have received God’s blessing.
We human beings are not only the beneficiaries but also the stewards of other creatures. Thanks to our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of destruction and death that will affect our own lives and those of future generations. (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Guadium], no. 215)
Our bishops have reminded us that lifestyle changes based on traditional moral virtues can ease the way to a sustainable and equitable world economy in which sacrifice will no longer be an unpopular concept. For many of us, a life less focused on material gain may remind us that we are more than what we have. Rejecting the false promises of excessive or conspicuous consumption can even allow more time for family, friends, and civic responsibilities.
It is our responsibility to support the new and growing young generation who have chosen to live simply. We bless them and we pray for their continued courage. They are our hope!