Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leaving creates room for growth

Ascension Thursday Year A

I'm constantly surprised by the eulogies given at funerals. Some are extremely moving whilst many sound as if they were testimonies given in support of the canonisation of the deceased person. What often surprises me is that in spite of the many criticisms that you would often hear about someone while he is alive, nothing is mentioned of this when he's gone. How the death or the passing of someone seems to change everything. Even his greatest critics seemed to have only good things to say about him. Death changes everything. It is funny how we can come to appreciate someone only when he’s no longer around.

How can the leaving of a friend or a family member be also a moment of joy? Mysteriously, this is the case. Certainly, we are saddened by the loss of a loved one. But his leaving creates room for us to grow. The person leaving us, if he has been such an influential person in our lives, always leaves a part of himself or herself with us. That part can come to life only after the person has left. This is because when the person was with us, we often take his presence for granted. When our loved ones are with us, we don’t really take the trouble to reflect over the influence they have over our lives. When our loved ones are always present to us, we often only see their limitations and weaknesses but are blinded to their good points. It is only after they have left us that we begin to appreciate them for all the things they have done for us.

Jesus also understood this mystery very well. He had to leave in order that his disciples and the young church could be empowered. He had to leave because the church needed to mature. If he had physically remained with them, the disciple would always have to be dependent on him in a childish kind of way. But by Jesus’ leaving, each of his disciples would now carry on the legacy that was left by Jesus. Each would now preach and act in the way that Jesus preached and acted. Jesus’ mission has now become our mission. Jesus’ life has now become part of our lives.

But has Jesus really left us? Certainly not. He promised us at the end of today’s gospel reading: “I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.” By leaving his disciples, Jesus was actually coming back to them in a more powerful way. He would now be present to each of us through the Holy Spirit. Physically, it was not possible for Jesus to be with us at all times. It is only in the Spirit, could he be present to each of us at the same time and at all times.

Let us then pray to God as St. Paul did in the second reading and ask him to grant to us, not human wisdom, but the understanding of the mystery of the Church. May God open the eyes of our hearts so that we can appreciate the greatness of the hope that we are called to.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Terms of Use: As additional measure for security, please sign in before you leave your comments.

Please note that foul language will not be tolerated. Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, and antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be removed. Violators run the risk of being blocked permanently. You are fully responsible for the content you post. Please be responsible and stay on topic.