Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Big Secret Decoded

Trinity Sunday Year B

With the proliferation of jokes about God in trivia-dom, one may actually agree with the adage, “Nothing is sacred and little secret.” Wikileaks’ most recent publication of secret correspondence leaked from the personal desk of the Pope and Vatican officials are merely signs that nothing escapes the public eye, not even the sacred are spared. Confidential information has become an oxymoron. The prevalence of this invasion into personal privacy merely demonstrates man’s fascination with the mysterious, and especially with our deepest secrets. But here lies the paradox of secrets: We all crave the mysterious, and hope to have its secrets opened to us, yet we wish it to keep its numinous quality intact.

Secrets. Why do people have them, and what do they do in your life? People choose to have secrets for many reasons. One is from a fear of judgment from another. Others hide their failures out of shame. But, perhaps, the most common fear is that that those who come to have knowledge of our secrets will have power over us. It is, therefore, a great risk to let someone into your secret. It is a great sign of friendship and trust to tell someone a secret about yourself. And the more personal and intimate the secret, the more personal and intimate is the friendship. In fact, you tell the secret not only as a sign of friendship but also as a way of getting closer to your friend, for your secret is part of yourself. By disclosing your deepest secrets, you hand over to the other person the key to your heart where you have locked away the most private knowledge of yourself. You allow him to enter into your very soul, as it were.

The love which Jesus has shown us can no longer be doubted. The cross provides the irrefutable testimony. But Jesus has also shown his love by disclosing his very nature and his intimate relationship with the Father and to the Holy Spirit. He is our greatest friend and thus lays bare his soul, or one might add divinity, for all to see. It is not surprising then, that he has revealed secrets to us about himself that we would not be able to discover on our own. The secret he offers us is that God is Trinity – three persons in one God. It is a secret regarding the private life of God himself. The Church teaches we can know with certainty by our human reason that God exists. But there are truths that we cannot discover until God reveals them to us. The doctrine of the Trinity is such a Divinely Revealed truth. By such disclosure, the word mystery in our Christian context takes on an entirely differently meaning. Frank Sheed, one of the great Catholic apologists of the 20th Century, said that the word mystery “does not mean a truth of which we cannot know anything: it means a truth of which we cannot know everything.”

Non – Christians often deal with the mystery of God by speculating or postulating that he is either one or many. But if God is the wholly Transcendent Other, man can only speculate on His inner life. It takes God to give the correct answer.  No one knows God except the one who comes from God. Thus, Jesus, the Son of God has revealed to the whole of mankind that God is one but he is also three persons. In the words of the 6th century Athanasian Creed,“the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.” The three persons of the Trinity are all co-equal and co-eternal, uncreated and omnipotent. Thus, the Christian answer to the mystery of God continues to baffle as much as it reveals. There are more questions than answers raised by this revelation. The First Vatican Council while affirming the Church’s faith the mystery of the Trinity has been revealed through Divine Revelation, admits that the mystery “remains hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness... Our understanding of it remains only partial…”

But this should not deter us from trying to understand and make sense of this mystery. The reason for us is clear. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is “the central mystery of Christian faith and life” (CCC 234). But, why has the Church placed such central importance on this doctrine?

First, this mystery is important because God has called each of us into relationship with Him. He wants us to attain more than only knowledge about Him; He wants us to actually know Him, personally – it is relational. A central element of knowing Him is to know who He is. The doctrine of the Trinity helps us know who God is. So, those who wish to know God as He is and enter into an ever-deepening relationship with Him must spend time in prayer and also study what the Church teaches in order to embrace and receive this knowledge of His Triune nature. When we address God, we do not just address him impersonally as if we were strangers? His son has called us ‘friends’, and as friends we come to relate with him in person and not just intellectually and conceptually. That is why we have used the words ‘persons’ to speak of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. A person is always a ‘someone,’ never ‘something.’ Our personal possessions, treasures or even live pet animals may give us great comfort or delight. But they are not persons with will and intellect. One can never enter into an authentic relationship with a ‘thing’. Only persons are free to love and open themselves for love.

The second significance of this mystery is that the Trinity himself becomes the model or blueprint of humanity. We can no longer hide behind the clichéd adage, ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine.’ Man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God.  Although we may lose the likeness of God by sin, we never forfeit the image. Thus, in learning about God and coming to better know who He is through the doctrine of the Trinity, we learn something about ourselves. We were not made to be solitary beings; we were made to be in community. We were created to live and love as God does. We all know that God is love. We’ve seen that God’s knowledge and expression of that love is the inner life of the Holy Trinity. And that teaches us something very important about us – if we are to be true to whom we were made to be, we will live and love as God does and in doing so we will find joy and peace. God’s love is life-giving and boundless.  Created in His image, God calls us to share in His life and work. The family  is to be an image of the love shared in the Holy Trinity. A man loves his wife without condition and expectation. He gives everything to her, holding nothing back, willing to sacrifice even his life for her. A woman loves her husband without condition and expectation, holding nothing back, giving herself fully to her husband, willing even to die for him. This mutual love, sanctified by God, is so life-giving, that from that love pour forth children whose image was first formed in the mind of God… children made for heaven! Sounds like the dogma of the Trinity, right? Because it is. Family life must reflect the life of the Trinity.

This the great secret, made publicly known by Jesus, which we celebrate today. It is not the secret that is publicized by the book and movie “Da Vinci Code.” In that book and movie, the writer claims that the greatest secret about Jesus is that he was married to Mary Magdalene, he had a child, and Jesus was human. The author of the book claimed that this secret was withheld by the Church’s authorities from the beginning. Although the book may be an interesting mystery fiction novel, it is only that. What it claims about Jesus is false. There is no basis in the bible and in history to support the claims of the author but it does make juicy reading – a fictional Wikileaks, perhaps. The real secret that has been ‘decoded’ is actually the mystery of the Trinity. God is Father. God is Son. God is Holy Spirit. This is the truth which must be proclaimed to the world and should never be kept hidden.

In the age of Wikileaks, telephone tapping, internet hacking, RPK exposes, this question often looms like a Sword of Damocles over our heads: “Is no secret safe?” You’ll never know what might be leaked. Of course, that itself is nothing new: Whenever we reveal information to even one person, we risk it being spread. Here, God has risked disclosing the mystery of his inner life to us not in order that we may continue to keep it confidential. The disclosure’s purpose is clear – it is meant for leaking. In fact, we are to shout it from the roof tops, proclaim it in the market squares, and sing of it on every street corner. This is one secret that needs no safe-keeping. It is meant to be proclaimed and spread to the four corners of the earth because it is the single most important Secret, the greatest Mystery of all, a Secret that truly saves!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Inspired Flash Mob

Pentecost Year B

Have you ever seen a flash mob? A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. So you can see flash mobs in shopping centres, food courts, public parks, pedestrian walkways and just about any area which is open to the public. The venue is important both for the purposes of a ready audience as well as providing the actors or participants of the flash mob with an easy exit, as they blend in innocuously with the public before and after the item has been performed.

But the word ‘mob’ attached to the above phenomenon does not always possess such a neutral or even positively innocent connotation. More often than not mobs have been associated with less desirable activities. The word ‘mob’ is derived from the Latin phrase, “mobile vulgus” which literally translates as ‘fickle commoners.’ Thus, a mob refers to a crowd of people, a large and definable group of people usually associated with the lower classes or commoners. Since the crowd was considered unthinking and even fickle, their behaviour could oscillate from innocently harmless activities to one which could turn violent. The angry mob has come to be synonymous with destruction, violence, looting and anarchy. The recent BERSIH rally which was intended as a peaceful assembly pressing for electoral reforms was painted by the powers-that-be as dangerous mob rule.  

Given the ambivalence of the term and the nature of the mob, it is no wonder why many would choose to stay away. Malaysians have long been notoriously known for their political passivity. We were never known in the past to participate in mass demonstrations, street rallies, and public sit downs. These were things that happened in other countries but not here. It’s not that we lack political awareness. We are ever ready to discuss politics and even express dissent as long as these are done within the safety of our homes and private coffee shop discussions among known friends. The online world of the internet has also allowed us to participate in heavy political discussions as long as we are able to hide behind innocuous pseudonyms. The need for self-preservation and the fear of recriminations from the authority have led us to seek shelter behind the privacy and security of closed doors and upper rooms as in the case of the disciples in today’s first reading and gospel.  

Of course things have changed in recent years. Public rallies and demonstrations are not just confined to small groups of social activists. The recent BERSIH rally has proven that the common man and woman and even those from the middle and upper classes are prepared to emerge from the safety of their guarded communities to risk detention, and even face the force of riot police and their paraphernalia. But in spite of these changes, Christians or at least Catholic remain frighten in coming out to share their faith.

Today’s first reading account of the story of the Pentecost from the Acts of the Apostles, where the apostles suddenly emerge from their upper room and revealed themselves to the public would possibly appear similar to this mob phenomenon. But the similarity ends here. The power of the Holy Spirit would set the Pentecost event apart from any flash mob, public rally or demonstration. Here, we witness not the triumph of the human spirit but the victory of the divine. No force nor fear, no obstacle could suppress the power of the Holy Spirit which exploded from that upper room.
Both the first reading and the Gospel begin with the disciples gathered in prayer. They are enclosed in a room - probably the same upper room where they celebrated the Last Supper. The upper room and closed doors betray their fears. But while praying, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. When the Holy Spirit comes, a change occurs. They are "sent." They go out to preach publicly, to heal and to reconcile men with God. They have a mission. From men cowering in fear and hiding behind the security of the four walls of that room, they now reach forth, inspired, enthused to proclaim the good news of the Risen Lord.   

Unlike a flash mob or other rallies, where strangers emerge from oblivion and disappear into oblivion after having accomplished the purpose for which they had gathered, the Pentecost Christians could no longer slip back into anonymity, they could no longer hide behind the indistinguishable nameless crowd. The Pentecost experience had now sealed its participants with a new relationship, a new covenant, so binding that it transformed them not just individually but also corporately. They were now linked by the gift of the Spirit and the faith they professed in the Risen Christ. And this link though reflecting an inner reality, the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, must always find public expression. Christians are not those who hide from the limelight. No one lights a lamp and places it beneath a basket. Christians on fire with the Spirit are called to public witness and continue telling the story of Jesus to everyone.

What does the power of the Spirit produce in this group of disparate strangers? Where there are divisions and estrangement he creates unity and understanding. The Spirit triggers a process of reunification of the divided and dispersed parts of the human family; persons, often reduced to individuals in competition or in conflict with each other, reached by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, can involve them to such an extent as to make of them a new organism, a new subject: the Church. This is the effect of God’s work: unity; thus unity is the sign of recognition, or as Pope Benedict has written, the “business card” of the Church in the course of her universal history. From the very beginning, from the day of Pentecost, she speaks the Gospel of Christ in all languages.

Thus the miracle of tongues was not just the manifestation of glossolalia, the language of angels. It was targeted not at angels but to mortals. Its purpose was to build bridges between cultures and to heal the rift that had torn humanity into warring nations, competing communities, hostile enemies. The curse of the Tower of Babel would now be removed with the blessing of Pentecost. The unity of the Spirit is now manifested in the plurality of understanding. Differences in language, culture and background would no longer be an excuse for division. The Church cuts across all barriers and differences, drawing all into its communion, whilst respecting the diversity of its parts.

We celebrate this Feast every year, so that we can be reminded of our communal identity as Church. The Church owes its success not to the works of men but the Work of God. Without the Spirit, our human endeavours and projects risk failure. Without the Spirit, we constantly have to contend with the spectre and shadow of crippling fear which lurks closely often tempting us to withdraw into the false security of our closed doors and upper rooms. Without the Spirit, the work of building unity within our families, our BECs, our parishes, our dioceses and in the universal Church would be futile. Without the Spirit, our voices would be lost and drowned by the cacophony of noises from the world and the prevalent culture of our times. Without the Spirit, we will condemned to silence and the fire of Pentecost would be snuffed out.

The success and failure of a flash mob or a public rally often depends on various factors: planning, effective communication, good coordination, team work, courage and the audacity to stand out publicly to make a statement. The success and failure of the Spirit driven Church born on Pentecost day, on the other hand, depends on prayer and our fidelity to the mission that has been entrusted to us. On this Pentecost day, we remember the two things that are essential for the life of the Church: prayer and mission. At the heart of the Church is prayer, a prayer which does not close us in but opens us to the world. Prayer is the beginning of mission because it is through the power of prayer that we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the life giving force of Christians and the Church. Christians today must remember that by virtue of our baptism, by virtue of the Pentecost event, we are all called to be members of a flash mob, not just to perform some fleeting unusual and pointless activity, but to be witnesses of the gospel of Christ to the world. We have been set on fire so that we may set the world on fire. There is no ambivalence in this, only certainty of our faith!

Friday, May 18, 2012

We got to pray, just to make it today!

Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B

Remember MC Hammer, that rapper artist who made it big in the late 80s and who gave a new definition to big baggy pants – his looked rather like two helium balloons encasing his legs. His single most successful hit was ironically entitled, ‘Pray.’ Like other rapper artist, MC Hammer was never known for his humility. His songs often fed his inflated ego and spoke of exaggerated personal achievements that towered over others. The hubris of the artist and the lyrics were often the selling points. But in this single hit, he highlighted the reason for his unexpected success. The answer was found in the refrain that littered the whole song, “We got to pray, just to make it today.”

Jesus isn’t a proficient rapper by any standard but seems to agree with the logic of the above song, “We got to pray, just to make it today!” In today’s gospel, we hear him praying to the Father in this magnificent prayer recorded in Chapter 17 of John’s Gospel. Throughout the Last Supper Discourse and as Jesus and his disciples make their way to Gethsemane, Jesus continues to speak to His disciples, preparing them for the future, and assuring them of His provision for all their needs in His absence. At one moment, He is teaching His disciples, and at the next, He is praying to the Father. John 17 contains the inspired record of our Lord’s prayer to the Father. In the fifth century, St Clement of Alexandria remarked that in this prayer, Jesus was acting as a high priest on behalf of His people. Thus earning it the name – ‘The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus.’

The High-priestly prayer is divided into three parts. The first part (verses 1-5) speaks of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. The second part (verses 6-19), which is what you had heard in today’s gospel reading, speaks of Christ and his disciples. The third part (verses 20-26) deals with the relationship of Christ and His Church. By stringing these themes together, Jesus presents to us a powerful model for prayer, or rather the attitude or presuppositions we must have as the premise for our prayer.

The first presupposition that is made is that glory and suffering are not mutually exclusive. Jesus speaks of himself being glorified by the Father. The manner of his glorification, the manner of his ‘enthronement’, the manner in which he will come to have authority over death and the power of evil is none other than the Way of the Cross. Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice on the cross will be his glory, and through his self-giving act, God Himself will be glorified. This seems strangely at odds with our notions of prayer. We often pray when we find ourselves in a difficult situation where we are unable to extricate ourselves through our own resources. We pray that suffering will go away and not the reverse. But the prayer of Jesus does not deny the reality of suffering. On the contrary, the prayer transforms the cross from a symbol of pain, humiliation and failure to one of joy, glory and victory. Christians do not pray away sufferings. Suffering, hardship and the cross are inevitable. We pray, however, that we may find glory in enduring our crosses so that God may be glorified. We pray that we may be united with Christ in the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of our salvation. We pray not just for temporary relief. We pray for eternal salvation.

The second presupposition of the High Priestly Prayer is that it assumes the sovereignty of God in the salvation and keeping of men. Man’s welfare or rather his salvation is God’s principal priority. It is God who provides leadership as we have seen in the first reading. In the gospel, Jesus prays in such manner because he understands and is convinced that it is God who lays the foundation for communities. It is God who provides the mortar to the Church for its unity. It is God who protects us from adversity. It is God who saves us, keeps us, cares for us and liberates us. Without God, none of this would be possible. Thus, any prayer should begin with this firm conviction and faith that it has already been answered by God in the best way possible.

The problem is that our prayers are often worded in a way where we have inserted a caveat or fail-save clause which betrays our lack of trust in God’s providence on the one hand, and a greater trust in our own devices on the other. Sometimes you hear people saying, “We’ve done all we can. The only thing we can do now is to pray.” We popularise clichéd statements like this “God helps those who help themselves,” treating them as if they were biblically inspired. Ultimately, these statements and beliefs are based on the premise that it falls principally on man to work out his own salvation and only when he has exhausted his resources, should he then rely on God. Therefore God would only be the second or last resort.

We often turn to human machinations and try to brainstorm alternative solutions when faced with a crisis. What more can we do to promote vocations to the priesthood? How can we be more creative in attracting the young to religious life? How can we work on the unity of our members? How can we convince more people to come to our BECs? We place greater faith on our structural abilities than on the power of prayer. To dare to suggest that we pray is to suggest that we don’t have a back up plan. Therefore, many people often think that prayer is meant for those who are just not clever enough to solve their problems on their own, those who cannot resort to their rationality. We think that prayer is not for the strong. This explains why devotion before the Blessed Sacrament is never filled with men. Because men often pride themselves as rational beings, as Mr Fix it and Fix all. So we tend to stereotype that prayer is meant only for old women, for the sick, and particularly for the weak – for those who have no recourses to any other solution except in God.

There is a time for prayer and there is a time for action. But action often seems more tangible and dependable than prayer. In the recent BERSIH Rally, where Malaysians from every walk of life came together to ask for fair and clean elections, we will find ourselves celebrating over the power of man’s ability and potential to change his destiny. Given the euphoria of the participants and supporters, to even suggest that we should pray first seems like a cowardly a cop out. Today, your worth would be based on your power to act and not your ability to pray.

Today, we are challenged to make this paradigm shift to make prayer our first priority. Prayer is never a sign of weakness but rather of strength. Prayer acknowledges that it is ultimately God who chooses leaders, call vocations, form communities, protect us from adversity, bring changes and allow us to love beyond what is humanly possible. Prayer should never be the last resort but the first thing we do in any situation. We must pray with the confidence that our Loving God has already answered our prayers. Though the outcome may differ from what we may conceive, we are assured that God’s decision and God’s action will always best the very best of human solutions. Just remember, “We got to pray, just to make it today!”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Look Down, Look Ahead

Ascension Year B

If you have ever travelled to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon of South Vietnam) or a read a travel advisory, you would know that one of the highlights of your tour should be a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnel Memorial Park. As innocent (or ticklish-ly cute) as the name of the park may sound, the tunnels were built for a more sinister purpose. The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located north of Ho Chi Minh City and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist) guerrillas as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped achieve ultimate military success.

During my first trip to Ho Chi Minh City, I was taken on a tour of one of the larger excavated tunnels. We were warned by our guide to look up at the ceiling of the tunnel and to watch our heads. Taking the advice to heart, I forgot to watch where I was stepping until it was too late. And then my foot hit a soft landing, a substance that felt wet and squishy, and which emitted an all too familiar odour. It was dog’s pooh. It seems that in our excitement to look upwards, we failed to look down.   

Christianity is often seen as a life-denying religion – a religion that is only focused on life after death and one which encourages its followers to avoid their earthly responsibilities. Christians are often accused of having their heads in the clouds, for looking upwards without having any care for what is below. On the other hand, many people live as if there is no life after death. They believe that everything must find a final resolution or closure within this life. They search to better their lives by looking for or constructing an earthly Shangri-la or Utopia here below.

This is a far cry from the message of the Feast which we celebrate today. The ascension does not lead us to focus only on heavenly existence whilst ignoring earthly life. We need to look upwards, but we must never forgot to look down too. “Why are you standing here looking up into the sky,” the two men dressed in white, presumably angels, which you would find at the end of today’s first reading ask this of the apostles who were still gazing up into the sky long after Jesus had departed from their sight. Perhaps, they were rooted to that site in disbelief, a kind of denial that Jesus had actually departed. In any event, the angels’ caution was a reminder that their sky-gazing activities should not distract or detract them from their mission. Whilst applying themselves to their mission on earth, they should also not lose sight of the eschatological event – that Jesus will one day return. In other words, we should not only look at what is immediately before us, but also ahead of us. Within this single scene, we can come to the conclusion that Christianity brings together both ethical obligations and missionary responsibilities that are tied to our existence here on earth as well as every Christian’s hopeful expectation of the Last Things – the Parousia or Second Coming of Christ, death, judgment, heaven and hell.

In the early decades of Christianity, many Christians sincerely believed that the world was going to end with the return of Christ in their lifetime. This led to an entire spectrum, a variety of lifestyles and behaviour. Some stopped working for they thought that their days were numbered and should therefore be better spent in prayer and vigilance for the Lord’s imminent coming. This resulted in economic crises in families. There were others who felt that since the world was coming to an end, it would therefore be best to spend the remainder of our lives in purely hedonistic activities – debauchery, drinking, partying and fulfilling every particular need of the flesh. In many of Paul’s letters, we see him frantically trying to correct this misunderstanding on the part of Christians and to remind them that their new life in Christ and in the Spirit had serious moral implications. In any event, they should continue their daily business and apply themselves to the missionary responsibility and commitment to the community.

This feast, therefore, reminds us to pay attention to the way we live our present earthly lives so that this can be perfected in our heavenly life. Rather than a denial of life, earthly responsibilities and commitments, today’s feast challenges us to affirm this life and recommit ourselves to our responsibilities, especially our responsibilities to our fellow brothers and sisters. St. Paul, in today’s second reading, writes to us: “I … implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.”  Our responsibilities include the mission to evangelise. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus left his disciples and the Church this mission: “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.” It is the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Although we are asked to proclaim the Kingdom of God through our words and actions here and now, we must not deceive ourselves by thinking that we can replicate heaven on earth. We must not confuse our present temporary existence with the eternal life promised by Christ to his believers. In the early age of Christianity, some Christians also grew impatient in waiting for Christ’s second coming. They felt weighed down by the trials and tribulations of their lives. They faced persecution from outside the church and conflict within the church. They were beginning to lose faith in God because they had lost hope in Christ returning to save them. In the face of such difficulties, we often find ourselves being blinded by our fears and anxieties, by the weight of present sufferings and trials. We are unable to see the light of God’s final act of redeeming humanity and recreating the world. Short term and seemingly achievable goals that provide temporary relief replace long term ones that promise salvation. Our vision becomes narrowed to the point of spiritual myopia.

This was the problem of the disciples in today’s first reading. When they asked Jesus whether the time had come for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, their focus was only on building an earthly kingdom, a kingdom confined to their ethnic identity. But the event of the Ascension leads them to understand that the kingdom of God is much broader than any vision of an earthly paradise that could be achieved in this life or even in the future to come. The kingdom of God would only come to its perfection at the end of time, when God recreates the whole of the universe in Jesus Christ. This, however, does not release us from our present responsibilities but rather challenges us to constantly work for the Kingdom of God throughout our earthly lives. We will never be able to create a perfect society in our lifetime, therefore the need to always work for the betterment of society, the healing of relationships and the promotion of justice, love and peace in this world. Keeping our gaze on the bigger picture, on the Kingdom of God, allows us to rise above any setbacks, failures and disappointments. We are only able to see a small part of the picture. Our personal failure is not to be translated as ultimate failure which would be disastrous. In fact, our faith and hope informs us that our victory is already assured. The Ascension is our assurance of this.

Today, as we reflect on this feast of the Ascension, let us not look into the sky and be lost in the clouds like the disciples in today’s first reading. Rather, let us recommit ourselves to the mission which Christ has entrusted to us, here and now. But, let us also not be to too concern with our human pursuits that we lose sight of God’s kingdom and Christ coming at the end of time, for then we will only substitute the promise of heaven with a poor imitation here below.