Do you remember the days before Television? How about before Radio? Do you remember before automatic Dish Washers and Laundry Machines? Do you remember before the I-Phone – before the Dial phone era? How about Automobiles with stick-shift, or with four on the flour with the clutch? How about Jet Airplanes or Rockets to the Moon? How have you adjusted? Are you still adjusting? Do you remember the Depression or the number of Recessions – cycles of growth and change. Do you remember the Church before the 2nd Vatican Council, or the changes that have taken place since that moment?
Do you remember Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Struggle? How about World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq or the countless other “skirmishes” where lives were lost and cultures radically changed?
The fact is, human cultures around the world have always been in turmoil with radical transformations. As populations grew and expanded, conflict and progress were always two sides of the same coin. As all cultures receive change and are in turn change-agents – life is never static. Events and people force transformations, while at the same time, experiencing push-back. Change is never easy, quick, or without conflict and fear. It is like watching a zygote, a human seed begin to sprout and grow, changing radically along the way, being born and looking around at a strange new world. The infant begins a journey of life, constantly exploring and asking questions. At first, the infant is held, fed, changed, loved, and completely dependent. They then begin the journey of learning to become independent – to be able to walk, run, develop skills and learn who they are. As the plant grows, they meet new people and have new experiences, always shaping their vision of who they are and their place in the world. This journey may take a very short time or decades – moving into the unknown – a world of mystery – a world of relationships.
Do you remember the countless individuals that you have met on your journey? Some experiences might have been negative, and others positive – but seldom neutral. Along this journey you have touched countless others and they in turn have touched you. We are all connected – even to those of generations past and of generations yet to come. We are part of the Cosmos; of the Universe coming to be. The journey is filled with struggle, pain and loss; it is also filled with ecstasy, joy, and moments of wonder and love. We all get by with a little help from our friends, as the old saying goes.
My question is: Have you taken the time recently to look around? To wonder? To stand in awe and look at nature around you? Have you looked at our earth, our grand diversity of beauty found in the animal and plant life that we are surround by? Have you looked to the heavens – to the stars, or at a thunderstorm building. Have you really looked at the beauty and wonder of human life. As we adjust in some ways to technological change – to changing cultures, have we moved beyond the catechism – beyond the skin of our faith? Have we taken the time to contemplate existence with the wide-eyed wonder of a 2 year old infant or do we get bored and tired of the same old ritual that has become routine; have we simply assumed that our faith culture never changes and is in fact boring? Why?
As we examine the life journey; the pilgrimages of past generations, how do we learn from them about the mystery of life, with the human weaknesses, limitations and failings, while at the same time see the Spirit of God, constantly pushing and pulling us forward; to learn how to be human and then to act in our humanity, recognizing that all of matter; all of life is connected and sacred. How can we let. go of our fears and jealousies; our greed and ego-centered personalities to serve one another, without stopping and contemplating life itself; the world, the universe and who we are. We are all busy, busy, busy and don’t have time to stop – we are all wrapped up in ourselves and fail to see beyond the end of our own noses. We build structures that will all fall down one day or be knocked down, but we fail to allow the Spirit to give life to the structure. We are reminded of our call to bring life to the world; to become one with Jesus in healing, feeding, and proclaiming the Good News. We are called to welcome the weak, the immigrants, those who are seen as unclean by whatever culture, and to see the face of God in all of creation; in or earth, in our air, in our water, and in one another.
On our journey to independence, we are called to enter into a phase of co-dependence and at the same time, realize that we are always dependent on the Spirit that gives life and draws us forward. We are called. to build bridges, recognize and celebrate diversity, and to be thankful for the gifts that we have received along the way as well as the gifts that we are for others.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people!!!